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 ESV
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. So, I can only gasp at the generosity of God. He immediately spoke to Abram and told him that He would give him all the land in front of him; north, south, west, andeast. Hadn’t Abram just given the east to Lot? Yet God is telling him that it will still 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? Every time I obey, God rewards me somehow. The payoffs are the joy of obedience, internal peace, and a sense of God’s favor in my life. The payoff is also God rearranging my circumstances, changing people’s hearts, and causing me to inherit was has always been mine for His purposes.
God is not the only One who gives rewards. People give rewards. Parents, bosses, and some in authority. How many of their compensations seem fair? They are usually skewed somehow, not equal to or greater than the cost. Satan also rewards those who serve him. 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 and how he loves that!
God has called me to pick up my cross and follow Jesus but I remember, as I struggle, that God will not only reward me but will give me the grace to say no to Satan’s premature payoffs and sources of pain relief. By God’s grace, I will not cave. And I will not be fooled by those who appear to have it all. I have it all – in Christ.
Change my heart’s appetite for heaven’s rewards. Amen