Question:

I have been praying at night lately that God would help make me a slave to righteousness and alight to the world.He says that I don't have because I have not asked.If I ask every night and bug him about this nightly will He put me on this path ofpureness before Him?Also I have been practicing being very polite and loving toward everyone I meet,even those I don't like. This seems to really please God.How in your opinion can I achieve total and unwavering obedience to Him? I guess like Paul said dying daily.I think I should startfastingbecause without personal sacrifice I may not get His attention as fast. By the way smoking has been a challenge, but I have been victorious! I want to be clean before Him in all the areas of my life. I like the peace I feel when I am atpeace with Him. I am starting to learn this is a real love relationship. Anyway try to make sense of all this and let me know!

Answer:

Your zeal to please God is commendable. So let's consider a few things to make sure your zeal is going in the right direction. I don't want you to become like the Jews, who "have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:2-3).

Paul warned that people tend to have a mistaken notion that self-deprivation will make them more righteous. "If you died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, "Don't handle, nor taste, nor touch" (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? Which things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but aren't of any value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:20-23). Fasting has a purpose, but it is not to make you a better person, or to cause God to listen to your prayers. Just because a person fasts, it doesn't mean God will hear their prayers (Jeremiah 14:12). See "Should Christians Fast?" for more details.

It is not a matter of God making you be a slave of righteousness. If it were then a person who sinned could blame God for not making him do what was right. It is a matter of choosing to do what is right. God will give you opportunities to grow (James 1:2-5). He will protect you from being forced into sin (I Corinthians 10:13). But whether you sin or not depends on your choice. "Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God can't be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Don't be deceived, my beloved brothers" (James 1:13-16).

Unwavering obedience comes through growth. "Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious" (I Peter 2:1-3). You are going to stumble at times -- we all do (I John 1:8) -- but the true children of God pick themselves up and continue down the path of righteousness. That is why the Scriptures are full of encouragement not to give up. "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end" (Hebrews 3:14). We aim for perfection while admitting that we will never truly achieve it in this world of sin. But the joy is in aiming for the goal.