The Star Trek series introduced us to the Vulcans, living on another planet and the epitome of logic and reason, whose mantra (accompanied by a hand greeting I never managed to master!) is ‘Live long and prosper!’
Interestingly, the Bible has much to say on this theme, connecting the two things to our obedience to God: ‘So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.‘ (Deut 5:32-33)
The Old Testament reminds us that obedience is the highest form of service to God. Jesus reinforced this when He told His disciples, ‘If you love me, obey my commands.’ (John 14:15) Today’s challenge, then, is for us to obey God. Most of the time, this will coincide with obeying man’s laws as well; sometimes it will not. (Acts 5:29) We need wisdom to tell the different and we need hearts that will listen for the spirit of God’s commands, not just for the letter. The religious leaders during Holy Week thought they were doing right in arresting Jesus and having Him killed, for example. We must guard our hearts so that our obedience is not mere empty form or ritual, self-interest disguised as obedience. The obedience God requires arises from a heart devoted to Him. The prophets often warned us of the dangers of obedience that was fuelled by self-righteousness; Micah reminds us that what God requires is for us to ‘act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:8) That’s the way to live long and prosper!