I just finished up day 4 of my first week of my new summer Bible Study on the Book of Ruth. Tonight's topic was long-term obedience to God. Wow. What a fresh perspective on Ruth's decision to follow her MIL Naomi back to the land of Judah. What I love about doing studies like this is that I learn things I would have never picked up on just by reading the Scripture by myself. God truly speaks to each of us in a different way when we are in His word.
If you get a chance, read the first chapter of Ruth (it's short). Basically, Naomi tells Ruth three different times to go back to her people (the Moabites, who worshipped false gods). Ruth responds with dedication to Naomi, and most importantly, dedication to God. "Your people will be my people, and your God my God." Despite Naomi's urging to turn back, Ruth stands firm in obedience to God (more than one time too!)
As the author points out, it takes more than sheer will-power to obey God. Sometimes I know that I think that it is my own inner strength that allows me to stick to my guns when it comes to obedience. How many times do we give ourselves the credit for standing up to temptation, when it is really the power of Christ working in us? I love thinking about the power that God gives to us through his Holy Spirit--- if only I relied on it more than I rely on myself!! How much umph I would have to fight against those roadblocks to obedience.
Thank you Lord for the story of Ruth and her dedication and love to you and to Naomi. Help me to make you my anchor, the source of my strength and obedience. Show me the ways to walk on the path you have prepared for me, not the one I would choose for myself. Amen.