The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. Romans 13:14-15
Abram deferred to Lot out of sheer grace. “Of all the land in front of us,” Abram said to Lot, “pick where you’d like to live!” Lot chose with his eyes and picked Sodom, in the Eastward direction, because it was lush and green. What happened next is so staggering that I can only gasp at the generosity of my Father. God immediately spoke to Abram and told him that He would give him all the land in front of him; north, south, west, and east. Hadn’t Abram just given the east to Lot? Yet God is telling him that it will eventually be his.
Why would I ever whine about how hard it is to follow God? Why does He have such a bad reputation among His children for requiring unreasonable obedience? I will never obey that God won’t reward. Never. The payoff is immediate in the form of internal peace and a sense of God’s favor on my life. The payoff may also be in the near future as God rearranges my circumstances, changes people’s hearts, and causes me to inherit was has always been mine in His purposes. The payoff will always be future in the form of crowns that I will be given, that I will, in turn, lay at Jesus’ feet.
There are others who give rewards besides God. I can’t help but think of them in comparison. People give rewards. Parents, bosses, and others in authority. How many of them actually seem fair? Is the compensation equal or greater than the cost? Rarely.
Satan is the god of this world and rewards those who serve him. The payoff can glitter like gold. Material things can pour in on the unrighteous and cause God’s children to say, “Why do the evil prosper?” Satan often makes God look stingy. How Satan loves that! I will not be fooled today. I know my Father’s nature and I know my enemy’s nature. Satan rewards to entrap. Is there an immediate payoff? Sure. Drugs feel great. Abusive power controls others and advances me upwards. Sin is enjoyable. But all the time I am reveling in my ‘stuff’, the bars of my cage are going up around me.
What has God called me to do today that feels burdensome? I remember, as I struggle, that God will not only reward me but He’ll give me the grace that I need to obey in the process. I don’t have to grit my teeth and find the strength. He even gives me the spiritual wings to fly to achieve the impossible.
I will not be fooled by those who appear to have it all. I have it all – in You. Amen