Obeying God: How to Live a Life of Reckless Abandon
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Take a moment and assess where you’re at with God.
Personally? These days I’ve battled being lukewarm. I’ve listened to the call of God and responded with a list of my responsibilities and challenges instead of running headlong into obedience.
And I am challenged.
I’ve heard God tell me to open my home to someone and I’ve reminded him that I need to pick it up and do the marketing and catch up on grading homeschool papers. I wonder if anyone reached out and loved that person since I was too busy.
He prompted me to stop what I was doing and play with my kids and I pointed out that that doesn’t get dinner done. I wonder what opportunity I missed that day? My heart breaks.
He has called me into my prayer closet to intercede for a missionary half way across the world and I pointed out the sleep I would miss and that I needed rest to be at my best for my mission field here at home. Lord, forgive me. I pray you protected and provided for them in spite of my selfishness.
These ‘reminders’ that I gave God were more subtle in the moment. I felt like I was choosing well, doing the work that was in front of me.
But as I was praying this morning, God reminded me of the girl I once was. The girl so captivated by the phrase “reckless abandon” that she determined to live that way for the rest of her life.
When I read about men like Abraham and Joshua and Elisha and Hosea or women like Ruth and Mary and Abigail, I am reminded that reckless abandon is not new.
It’s not some concept coined in the latest millennium; no, it is the faith that called strangers into strange lands, knocked down walls, called upstanding men to marry harlots and obedient women to skirt the line acting like them.
Reckless abandon is what God has called His children to from the very moment He breathed life into them. It is fellowship with Him at the cost of all else, love for Him at the exclusion of the world, and intimacy with Him that eclipses every other priority.
Deuteronomy 26:16-17 admonishes the nation of Israel. It directions them to live obediently and to live a life of reckless abandon for God:
Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulation. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. (NLT, emphasis mine)
When I read this, one part just leaps off the page. The word “wholeheartedly” there was placed intentionally by the Lord. He doesn’t just want our half-hearted efforts or ritualistic worship; He wants to captivate our whole heart.
Live a Life of Wholehearted Obedience
Obeying God wholeheartedly is no joke.
There are countries in the world where it can lead to death. Others where it leads to prison. Cultures where it leads to being ostracized and excommunicated.
I’m so thankful that I get to read my Bible, worship God freely, tell my children about Him, listen to Christian music, and basically take God for granted in my day to day life because that is not my reality.
I am privileged to be able to worship God and obey Him wholeheartedly without persecution.
In the persecuted church, though, they truly understand wholehearted obedience. They are prepared to be abused, imprisoned, and even martyred because of their love for God.
They understand that a true Christian life demands witnessing, because Jesus instructed us to go and make disciples. Yet they do so, knowing they will lose their lives for His sake.
Lord, help me to love you enough to obey you this deeply if it ever comes to that.
One of my favorite authors of all time is Oswald Chambers. This is what he shares about living a life of reckless abandon:
Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all. (from MyUtmost.org)
The Fulfilled Law
At the time of Deuteronomy 26, there was not yet a Jesus who had died for their sins. They were very much bound by a law they could never satisfy and worshipped a God they could never truly know.
And yet He came and manifested Himself in their presence regularly. He guided them to places of provision and victory. Like a father, He disciplined when needed.
But once Jesus came, it was a fulfilled Law. You and I, sweet friend? We get that fulfilled law and when we read this admonition in Deuteronomy 26 it means more.
We’re not just called not to murder; we are called not to hate. We aren’t just called to save sex for marriage; we are called not to lust. We are called deeper, because we have Jesus.
Live a Life of Reckless Abandon for God
I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it. ~Elisabeth Elliot
If we follow this directive in Deuteronomy 26, we will end up dedicated to live a life of reckless abandon for God.
To live a life of reckless abandon is to live an intentionally pursued, lived-on-purpose kind of a life. It is one lived with vision (watch THIS video if you want to hear about a vision of reckless abandon).
It is walking in His ways, obeying His decrees, honoring His commands, submitting to His regulations, and doing everything He says to do.
It is loving Him so desperately that your will melts into His and your heart beats for people so deeply that you will let every dream you hold for your own life fall off like broken chains as you run to them to tell them of Jesus.
It is being the hands and feet of Christ to a lost and dying world. Hands that give food, offer hugs, wipe away tears, and are in danger of being nailed to a cross. Feet that walk dusty roads to deliver hope and healing, climb mountains to pray, and are in danger of being nailed to a cross.
That’s what it means to live a life of reckless abandon, to truly obey God wholeheartedly without being restrained by fear of consequence. It means giving yourself wholly over to His call.
To read more about this, check out 5 Keys to a Life of Reckless Abandon.