Obligations. We all have them. Sometimes we hate them. Other times we denounce them, yet maybe go back and take care of the obligation anyway, because… Well it is an obligation after all.
But what is an obligation really? Merriam Webster provides four meanings.
Definitions of obligations
1: the action of obligating oneself to a course of action (as by a promise or vow)
2a: something (such as a formal contract, a promise, or the demands of conscience or custom) that obligates one to a course of action (made an obligation to pay their children’s college expenses)
b: a debt security (such as a mortgage or corporate bond)
c: a commitment (as by a government) to pay a particular sum of money; also : an amount owed under such an obligation (Unable to meet its obligations, the company went into bankruptcy.)
3a: a condition or feeling of being obligated (felt an obligation to vote)
b: a debt of gratitude (returned the favor as an obligation)
4: something one is bound to do: duty, responsibility countries in which military service is an obligation (fulfilled their familial obligations)
During a recent morning devotional time, I was reading from Max Lucado’s book, Grace for the Moment, Morning and Evening Devotional Journal. Based on scripture from Romans 8:6, Max recounts assurance that we are children of God. In effect, the Creator of the universe adopted me. I am His daughter, the child of the Most High God. A princess in the court of the King of all kings.
I won’t go into the how or theology of this concept – not here in a blog. So, let’s just agree that this statement is true. God adopted me. I am now His child.
Privileges of Adoption
Max asked, “What are some of the privileges of being God’s child?
I pose the same question to you. What privileges do you enjoy through God’s adoption? I love that I have a personal relationship with God. He is Papa to me. I can go to Him with anything. Any care, hurt, concern – ANY thing. And He’ll pull me into His lap and make everything okay. I have His power, wisdom and grace at my disposal night and day. Even at 2:00 a.m. if I can’t sleep. And the best part, being adopted means God chose me. He will never disown me, and no one (not even myself) can sever that relationship.
Then Max asked a second question and it immobilized my brain to a moment of silent pondering.
What are your obligations?
For a moment, I sat in my chair, considering the many tasks I had on my to-do list just for that day. Suddenly a still, small voice said, “Nothing. You have no obligations.” What? No obligations? “None.”
Responsibilities? Yes. But I am not obligated to anything. Yes, I can obligate myself to the Lord, but He doesn’t demand it. I don’t have to pay for anything God did on my behalf. In fact, the price of sin is too high. I can never pay that cost, which is why Jesus died and rose again. I’m not bound by obligation to God.
No obligations. I believe God wants us to love Him much more than feel obligated to repay Him. He longs for a relationship filled with so much gratitude and love that anything I choose to do flows from His love and grace to me. Never because He forces me to do something because I feel obligated.
Consider this. If you act in love and gratitude because of His grace and love instead of because you feel obligated, how would it change your life?