Pearl of Great Price (and Affection-based Obedience)

After listening to Jaeson Ma’s preaching on “Affection-based Obedience” (Pls. message me if you want a copy…)

There definitely have been times when the importance of pursuing DESTINY had been over-emphasized. “Do not trade it for a bowl of soup like Esau did. Do not settle for second best. It is worth pursuing more than any successful career, financial wealth or even emotional fulfillment.” These things we often say. Sometimes, as if a person’s destiny is the most important thing in the universe.

What is destiny but nothing more than what we will find ourselves fulfilling as we give ourselves completely to God? What is our ultimate destiny but to be with God, in intimate union with our Lover and Creator.

I am bothered at how we sometimes create the impression that we ‘need to pursue our destiny’ at all cost because this would be the greatest thing we could ever accomplish in our earthly lives. It is true that it is of grave importance. But let us be careful not to separate ‘pursuit of destiny,’ from the way by which we must pursue it. To pursue destiny per se — separate from the grace that causes God’s love to overflow and that overflow in turn compelling obedience to do His will — would be no different from pursuing bondage, religion, fulfillment of ‘the Law’ outside grace.

We cannot pursue the destiny that God has for us apart from the inner working of the Holy Spirit who causes God’s love to pour into, saturate, and overflow our hearts with His goodness. I am beginning to see that the issue with the many young people I have witnessed abandoning a higher calling for the sake of gratifying personal ambition or desire, is not really about them being LESS NOBLE than those who have chosen to sacrifice for the sake of that ‘greater thing’ in God’s plan that they are pursuing by faith. (The more I see my sinfulness, the more I know that my heart is no better than anyone else’s apart from the blood of Jesus!) The REAL ISSUE, I think, is the failure to ASK and receive from GOD for that OVERFLOW. Apart from that overflow of love that compels affection-based obedience; apart from that irresistible wooing of the Spirit that causes reckless abandonment to the purposes of God while echoing the very heart of David when he said, “I will not give to my Lord that which costs me nothing!” — there really will be fainting and slipping away.

We are so needy and dependent on God’s grace. But I believe that there will always be, if we ask, not only enough grace to DO what is right, but also to DESIRE to do what is right. And yes, we will be tested in this. The battle between ‘inheritance’ and the formidable ‘stew’ continues to rage. If we TRY to love Jesus through our hard-squeezed obedience, we will ultimately fail. However, if we LET Jesus love us unto obedience, believe me, He has the ability to compel. We will be dancing like David did while indifferent to the complaints of his wife Michal; we will be pouring out perfume on Jesus, unconcerned about its extravagant cost; we will be selling everything we own because we have SEEN Him as the pearl of great price.

What is DESTINY but the privilege to know and love God. What is destiny but the invitation to embrace Him, for better or for worse, just clinging to His presence where everything else fades. Selah.


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