We live in a culture saturated with individualism. "Do your own thing" was the cry of a generation and we paid the price with skyrocketing rates of divorce, dysfunctional families and broken homes. We box our relationship with God into an individual spiritual experience. In the Bible, God started His relationship with two people, Adam and Eve.
Today we still live with the effects of Adam and Eve's obedience to God. I struggled with writing this article because I know the typical American Christian thinks of salvation as an individual experience when there are numerous examples of salvation being a demonstration of God delivering a community or a relationship with a nation or a group in the Bible.
Here are two ways that my relationship with God affects you.
1) My cooperation with God can bring a blessing or a curse to those around me. Here's an example of how one person's obedience brings blessing on a nation in Deuteronomy 28:1-2:
"Now it will be, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I am commanding you today, then the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings will come on you and overtake you if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God."
An individual's obedience to God unleashes blessing on a city or nation's economy. An example of this statement a parents decision that affects us for the good or the bad. My mom's decision to move to Hawaii changed my life for the better. I didn't see that at the time and hated my parents for a season for uprooting me from my friends but that move set the stage for me to go to college.
I see the parent's decision to cooperate with God played out in the lives of their children. My mom became a Christian when I was 16-years-old. Her decision to follow Christ triggered my openness to God when I was 18. Because I decided to follow God at 18, and stayed devoted through the years, I'm married to a godly man. Mom's decision to follow God made way for me to follow Him. Her obedience to cooperate with God unleashed blessing into my life.
2) My cooperation with God can either stop or start a storm in your life.
This principle is vividly illustrated in the book of Jonah. God called Jonah to bring a message of repentance to Nineveh, a major city. Jonah refuses his commission and chooses to flee God's calling by boarding a ship. Jonah's disobedience threatened the lives of everyone on board.
"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 'Get up, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.' But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found there a ship going to Tarshish. He paid its fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and a mighty storm came upon the sea, so that the ship was in danger of breaking up" (Jonah 1:1-4).
"So Jonah said to them, 'Pick me up and toss me into the sea. Then the sea will quiet down for you. For I know that it is on my account this great storm has come upon you'" (Jonah 1:12).
My cooperation with God can either cause or stop a storm in the lives of my husband, children and friends. My husband, Jerome, and I were having a hard time in our marriage. We both went forward for prayer after a service, and the strife lifted between us. When we cooperated with God by including Him in our marriage, we stopped the storm between us.
Storms that rage in a marriage, relationship, business or church can be traced to a person or a group of people who are not cooperating with God. We can stop the storm when we submit to the Holy Spirit. Saying yes to God can stop a storm today or deflect a storm in your child's future.
Whether we like it or not, our cooperation with God affects everyone around us. If you're living with the regret of not obeying God, the good news is that He is a redeemer. You can say 'yes' today and He can redeem the mess your bad decisions have created. I've seen God rescue and redeem shattered lives.
It is never too late to say yes to God. Decide now that you are going to obey Him. He has given you the strength, the provision and everything you need to obey Him.
"His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and excellence, by which He has given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, so that through these things you might become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:3).
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