Saying “yes” to God without knowing His agenda or examining His itinerary exhibits true trust and obedience. That little word, “yes,” can lead to big opportunities and beautiful blessings, but it doesn’t save you from experiencing trials and tribulation, lingering anxiety, or deep frustration.
Obedience is submitting to God’s authority while trusting in His Word. Obedience is essential to Christian faith and it is way more than just following a set of rules. It is complete surrender of one’s self (ambitions, desires, control, etc) in order to seek Jesus, follow His teachings and serve His Kingdom. It is far from easy.
For some reason unknown to me at this time, God is guiding me to seek obedience in 2021. I’m not going to lie – the thought of seeking obedience in all aspects of my life terrifies the heck outta me! It makes me wonder, what am I signing up for? What am I saying “yes” to?
It’s scary…but it’s also quite exhilarating.
The year is just starting and I’m already frustrated, discouraged, angry and upset. I’m sure you can relate. I may be an idealist, but I am not a naïve person who thought 2021 would be a breath of fresh air, a clean start or a cake walk. Far from it. I anticipated things would get worse before they’d get better. Yet, I feel like God has prepared me for this very moment and I have to remind myself often that none of what I am experiencing is a surprise or accident. God knew everything that has happened and continues to know everything that will happen. I’m grateful I don’t put my hope in the created but rather in the one and only Creator.
With that said, I’ve been experiencing many stirrings within the last week or two and I can sense my obedience being challenged. I invite you to be challenged with me and to walk with me on this journey of obedience. Again, I don’t know what saying “yes” means but here are a few things I believe God is prompting my spirit to obey:
1.) Love God and Love People:
The greatest commandment is to love God with ALL of your heart, mind, and soul and to love Him above ALL things (people, possessions, positions, etc). The second commandment is similar – love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40).
Love, love, love. It is so simple and yet so incredibly difficult. But you guys, our world needs love right now. BAD! We need to love big and love hard. We need to live out true, unconditional love. This means love without restrictions, agenda, judgment, pre-conceived notions or boundaries. There is way too much hate right now. We need to show patience, compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, and selflessness. We need to push our differences aside so we can make a difference. We need to be reminded that love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).
2.) Know God is good even when life feels bad:
The Maker of the Universe is the same today, tomorrow and yesterday (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8). God’s character is loving, righteous, good, and faithful, amongst other things (Galatians 5:22-23). Likewise, His Word is absolute Truth. It is unchanging and ever relevant (Isaiah 40:8). I don’t know about you, but I need to live each day believing that the Truth is actually true.
3.) Be. Go. Do.:
Be the person God created you to be (Psalm 139:13-16). Go out into the world, into the places no one wants to go. Shine a light into the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16) and do the good things God has planned for you to do (Ephesians 2:10, Philippians 1:6). There may be someone out there who is waiting for you to do the job God has assigned you to do.
4.) Come together:
Ordinary people can do extraordinary things when the power of the Holy Spirit dwells within them and they work together (Matthew 18:20, Romans 12:4-5, Romans 12:9-21, Hebrews 10:24-25).
5.) Pray like life depends on it, but it does:
We need to keep our eyes up and our knees down.
I’m convinced God likes things to not make sense. In my limited human mind, that is my reasoning for this wild and crazy world we live in.
Seriously, though. God likes to keep us on our toes, shake things up, make us scratch our heads and question everything we think we know. God craves an authentic relationship with His people. He is our Heavenly Dad after all. He welcomes vulnerability, transparency and real emotion. He knows when we throw our fists up (or a finger, perhaps) in the air we will ultimately be taken down to our knees.
In this year of seeking obedience, I acknowledge the power, importance and priority of prayer. I need it. My children need it. The church needs it. And God knows, our world does as well.
“Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.” ~ Ephesians 6:18 (CEV)
Oh, you guys…
It’s going to be a year, I can sense it. But together we can do our part to help piece this world back together.
I pray for bold, fearless faith throughout 2021. I pray for courage and intentionality. I pray for opportunity to show Jesus and the chance to speak Truth in love.
And I pray for obedience, whatever that may mean and wherever that will lead.