Wouldn’t it be the best if our obedience to God guaranteed us a carefree life? Sometimes I determine my willingness to obey by whether the payoff will be in my favor in the end. Will it guarantee I get the answer I want, the job I’ve dreamed of, the relationship I’ve longed for? Will I come out of my obedience unscathed, my heart still intact? Will it make me comfortable?
I wish the answers to my questions of obedience always worked in my favor. We’ve painted big pictures to the world that obedience always makes sense. God would never have us make big decisions that others wouldn’t understand, would He? Surely He wouldn’t ask us to give up things that matter most to us for the sake of obedience. Would He ever require my obedience to set me apart from the crowd? Oh the QUESTIONS that arise when I determine how far I am willing to obey.
I’ve never really understood, or been a fan of, my obedience resulting in lost relationships, moves to other countries, being misunderstood, having assumptions made, and so on. Obedience shouldn’t cause heartache, should it? Maybe that’s a perception that we need to change. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” If I’m being honest, I gauge my willingness to obey by whether or not people may or may not like me, if they might think I’m crazy, or disagree with my obedience. I’ve watched friendships dissipate, people leave the church where I invest much of my life, and heard that gossip has traveled over decisions to obey God in the hard, doesn’t make sense stuff. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Obeying God is beautiful, but not always beautiful in what the world defines as beauty. Obedience is less about the way we’re asked to obey, and so much more about the end result. It’s about the Kingdom – your obedience and my obedience. It’s not just about the Kingdom if you’ve given your life to serve full-time in ministry. It’s about that fact you have given your life to serve GOD fully!
How many times have you opted to just not obey because it means you might take a loss? I’m not sure I can count the times I opted out because I was so afraid of the ridicule I might receive because it wouldn’t fit into a nice, tidy box. I remember when my family made a BIG decision to obey God calling us to move overseas as missionaries. I was the very first to think my parents had lost their minds. Who takes their young children out of the comfort of the United States, away from friendships, and moves them to love people they don’t even KNOW? It took me years to understand that obedience is ALWAYS about the Kingdom for the Christ-follower.
Maybe obedience in the hard stuff is staring you right in the face today. You know people are gonna talk, that you might take a big hit for obeying in that thing that just doesn’t make sense. Let me say to you…DO IT! Obeying God is never a loss when the gain is always heaven and the treasures you lay there.
I may never understand the obedience God has required of me, especially when there are many days my heart hurts so bad when it’s the faces of people I see I’ve lost. That will never make sense to me. Is it worth it to obey God in the hard things? Absolutely. Is it worth it to not obey Him and hope He’ll ask someone else to do it instead? Nope. I’ve tried that, and probably will try that again, unfortunately. The abundant life doesn’t always come neatly packaged in doing just easy things. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s a wake up, take up the Cross, and surrender myself on the altar of MY WAY for HIS WAY. Every. Single. Time.