Isaiah says, “All who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountains and give them joy in my house of prayer.”
Jesus quotes this verse in Mark (11:17) as he expels the moneychangers from the temple, disrupting their unlawful commerce.
Genuine peace, Beth Moore points out in her book, Breaking Free, “is the fruit of an obedient and righteous life, and the key to peace is the authority found in a prayerful life.”
Philippians (4:6-7) tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God.”
Moore paraphrases this passage, flipping around its meaning. She says, “Do not be calm about anything, but in everything, by dwelling on it constantly and feeling picked on by God, with thoughts like ‘and this is the thanks I get,’ present your aggravations to everyone you know but God. And the acid in your stomach, which transcends all milk products, will cause you an ulcer, and the doctor bills will cause you a heart attack, and you will lose your mind.”
Negative thinking and avoidance of prayer lead to worry. A path of concern distracts one from a route toward peace. Satan is ready to exploit our weakness, our lack of discipline, refusal to learn from our mistakes, and disavowal of that which helps us avoid trouble. Our strongest position can be gained on our knees, praying to God for protection, power and passion.
Ephesians (1:17-19) reads, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.”
We find four specific blessings in this passage. First, that we will receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Second, that our hearts will be opened. Third, that we will come to know the hope represented by God. Finally, that we will receive the incomparable power bestowed upon believers.
Moore says, “prayer turns cowards into conquers, chaos into calm, and our cries into comfort.” To receive this bounty, we must believe, perceive, and act upon this blessing. Christ, through prayer, sets us free. While Christ cuts the binding ropes restricting us, Satan works steadily to retie our lives into knots of confusion. To stay free of Satan’s bonds, we must remain constantly prayerful, in step with Christ.
Walking and talking with Him affords us protection, power and passion.
The “The Fruit of Obedience” requires total surrender if we are to be nourished by emotional security and the understanding. Within the fruit of obedience resides a seed of peace capable of germinating and replicating itself for generations to come.
The bottom line is clear. If we walk with Christ, He protects us, He gives us power and He gives us passion! This passion creates a sense of righteousness which, in the Greek language, is “justice.”
Christ’s righteous indignation in the Temple caused him to banish the moneychangers. His righteousness created justice in God’s House of Prayer. Justice, we find, is “The Fruit of Obedience.”
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org.