Forfeit – (v.) To lose or be deprived of as a penalty of wrongdoing or neglect.
Parenthood has brought many treasures. I think one of the things I love most is being able to almost grasp the unconditional love that God has for us. It is a very difficult thing to comprehend – this Love that knows no bounds, that doesn’t care what we do, that gives expecting nothing in return. It is relentless and unwavering. No matter what I do, He still loves me. And I understand that a bit more fully now that I’m a parent. No matter what my daughter does (now and in the future) – I will still love her with my whole being. That doesn’t mean I won’t be disappointed or frustrated. That doesn’t mean I won’t discipline or require obedience. It means that I will love her, I will hold her to a higher standard because I want the very best for her and I know better than she does what the “best” is (especially right now – she’s only two!).
God loves us. He holds us to a higher (the highest) standard because He wants the very best for us. And let’s face it – the God of the universe knows what is best for me way better than I do (even when I think I do). I know that I disappoint Him sometimes, I know that I frustrate Him sometimes. But I am thankful for His discipline. Because He wants what is best for me, He does require obedience. If we obey, if we follow His lead, then we are on the path that is best for us (note here – best does not mean least resistance).
And when I don’t obey, then I forfeit a lot. Just like a child who does not obey, they forfeit certain activities or certain treats (i.e. car keys, screen time, time with friends, etc.). However, when don’t obey, I forfeit blessings. I forfeit miracles. I forfeit powerful moments of His presence. And why, oh why, would I ever want to do that?!?
But I do. Time and time again.
What have I forfeited? What miracles did I miss?
This morning, I was reading from Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God Day by Day, as Christ was praying in the garden, the disciples were supposed to be praying with Him. In His greatest moment of need, they were supposed to be there for Him. And what were they doing? They were sleeping! How often did Christ need them? I’m guessing not often. They missed that opportunity – “Jesus forgave them, and they went on to experience God working powerfully through their lives, but that unique moment with the Lord was lost.” I don’t want to miss a single moment that He has in store for me! But how often I must because I’m too preoccupied to notice what He wants from me, what He asks of me. Here’s the kicker, “God does not need our obedience; He has legions of angels prepared to do His bidding when we fail Him. The loss is ours as we miss what God wants to do in our lives” (emphasis added). God doesn’t need me to obey. But He gives me the opportunity because He loves me. And I want so desperately to please Him. I don’t want to miss out on those moments! I don’t ever want to miss out on His presence in my life. Without Him life is lonely, empty, and without meaning.
Or think of it this way – what if Joshua and the Israelite’s had only circled Jericho 6 times (Joshua 6:1-27)? They were tired, nothing had happened, and they looked like fools. But 7 times is what the Lord required. And the 7th time made all the difference. What if Peter, James, and John hadn’t put their nets into the water (Luke 5:1-11)? They had been fishing all nigh and had barely caught a thing. Why would now, in the daylight, when fish were even more sparse, make any difference at all? But it did. Because the Lord said so. What if the man born blind has refused to go and wash his eyes out (John 9:1-12)? Why put in the extra effort? Can’t I just wipe them off right here? But the act of obedience, the going and washing were an act of obedience.
You get the point. They (and many others) could have easily forfeited the miracle. And the Biblical narrative as we know it would be different.
We must obey! If the Lord has spoken to you, if He has laid something on your heart, then you had better listen. What could be on the other side of your obedience? Is it time in His presence? A moment of growth? Or a miracle?
One thing is for sure, as a wise friend of mine once told me, there are souls on the other side of your obedience. The Lord is waiting for you to listen so that He can use you to save the lives of others! Are you willing to forfeit those souls? Lives are at stake here. The choices you make today will affect other people!
If you know the right thing to do and you do not do it, that is a sin (James 4:17). Do you know the right thing? Do you know what He has told you to do? Has Scripture shed light on your situation and give you an answer/solution to a problem?
Often times what He asks of us will be difficult. Sometimes, it will seem impossible. But it is always worth it. Always.
After all, God, all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator of the entire universe – He knows what is best for you, what is best for me. Why wouldn’t I want to listen?