I had a sandal blow out. While my youngest attended an end of school soiree, my husband and I decided to take Shelby, our special needs daughter, to see Dumbo. A circus tent with a flying elephant is right up her alley. Well, if I’m being honest, she doesn’t care what movie we take her to as long as she has popcorn and a soda. But on the way into the theater, a well-loved flip-flop flipped it’s last flop. There was no keeping it on my foot with any kind of regular gait. So I started shuffling – maintaining contact between my feet and the ground at all times to keep from losing the dilapidated shoe all together. But we didn’t have much time to buy our tickets and hit concessions (#priorities), so my husband requested that I just take the shoe off so I could move at normal speed.
I complied and picked up my sandal, walking across the asphalt with no protective barrier. Yuck. I held the shoe in my hand so that anyone who saw me would know I had a mishap and did not choose to come to a public place with only one (What?!?). I don’t know. There is really no good way to explain the inner workings of my mind. We make our way inside the theater and I start wondering about that “No shoes, no service” rule. Does it still apply if you are wearing at least one? I digress. We get our movie snacks and I am now forced to put my shoe in my purse so I can carry my drink and still hold Shelby’s hand and help her along. To heck with appearances. That battle is long lost.
Once inside our theater of choice, I help Shelby to her seat and set our tasty treats down before announcing to Chuck that I must empty my bladder before the movie starts. I’m 45 and have a large Diet Coke. There is no way. I grabbed my raggedy shoe back out of my purse, but not for appearance sake this time.
The parking lot is one thing, the theater carpet is another, but there is NO WAY in Dallas, Texas in July (that’s pretty close to the temperature of hell), that I was stepping on a public bathroom floor without something covering the flesh of my foot.
Since God has been dealing with me on the issue of obedience, we are kinda in the middle of an accidental series on the topic (although last week’s post was not about obedience or the week before because I’m not that organized – but whatever). I saw some correlations between my footwear escapades and obeying God. I want to preface this by saying that I IN NO WAY believe God requires or even desires a works-based relationship with us. He loves us and sent his Son Jesus to die as payment for our sins so that we can be in relationship with Him by believing in Jesus and His sacrificial death. Because Jesus took the punishment for my sins before they even happen, they are all forgiven. This is a huge load off my mind and something I am eternally grateful for, but it does not remove the responsibility of obedience from you or me. “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-2 NIV
Salvation is so much more than a get-out-of-hell-free card. Once we are brought into relationship with God, we obey from a place of gratitude, and also from a place of trust. Once we get to know Him, we understand that His guidelines lead to what is best for us and walking in them keeps us under the umbrella of His protection. Look at these verses:
Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. 1 Kings 2:3 NIV
Keep the Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8 NIV
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28 NIV
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:25 NIV
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him. Psalm 37:23 NIV
For he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Proverbs 2:8 NIV
If you are looking for a full-proof plan for your life here on earth to work out exactly as you wish, this is not it. God never promises us material wealth, convenience or pain-free leisure. But what He does want for us is abundant living, freedom from bondage and blessings we may never fully understand this side of heaven. And it’s clear to me from scripture that obedience to Him is a key to unlock all of these things.
Walking through a public bathroom in my bare feet is like stepping into a new day in willful disobedience to God. It’s unwise and leaves me vulnerable to more scum and filth than I care to imagine. And while in this human body my obedience won’t be perfect (sometimes it will look more like the busted sandal shuffle than a victory lap), the effort to stand in God’s will and under His protection is worth it.
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