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Monday, February 19, 2007

Obeying His Call

It's interesting to me...I heard someone say the other day that they take issue with the concept of obeying God...that the word obedience is tough for them.

I feel so differently about it. Not that I'm perfect, but I sure strive to be more and more obedient to Him as I mature in my walk with God.

To me, obedience is a gift...because it implies that I have a personal enough relationship with God that He makes clear to me the things that He wants from me.

That's a huge gift...that God loves me enough to show me the things in my life that don't honor Him and have to go...and that He gives me a choice as to whether I will obey Him.

I guess it all goes back to who I was before Him. You see, I spent years living for me, and they were empty pain-filled years.

So now, when God speaks to my heart..whether through His Word or through His still soft voice, or through the words of a trusted fellow believer, I want to obey.

He revealed something huge to me the other day...and I have chosen to obey.

I was listening to a tape on leadership by Kay Arthur, my mentor and cherished friend. On it, she was talking about how temptations will come for the believer, but that through Christ, we have all we need to rise above them. She was explaining that when they come we need to go right to God about it, and draw near to Him.

As I was listening, I was thinking about how Shane and I both feel a real call on our hearts to spend the rest of our days teaching people how to study God's Word.

And, I was thinking about this verse in Scripture, from Hebrews:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So I asked myself, what is the sin that so easily entangles me? Is there one?

I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I'm vigilant about protecting my marriage and my children. I don't spend time with men without my husband present. Even with my pastor, should we meet for some reason, it's done at the library in the middle of the kids play area, with my children right there.

I'm just very careful about situations with the opposite sex. I don't want there to be any chance for entanglement...ever.

There are lots of other things that God has made clear to me through my time as a believer about how He wants me to live. And, I try very hard to obey Him in those.

But still...that day I asked myself...is there anything else? Is there a sin that would easily entangle me?

And you know...there is. God made it clear that day. I know it's not sin for everyone, but I believe that when God reveals an area of our lives that could be used by the enemy to easily entangle us...that for us, is an area that we need to avoid like sin...because it could easily become sin.

For me, it's alcohol. I'm not an alcoholic...I am clear on that. Yet, when I am in a group of people where I feel safe and relaxed, and there is alcohol there, it's too easy for me to drink too much.

What's too much? For me, for a long time, I thought it was 2 drinks.

But now, I think it's any.

It's just not worth it when I think about it compared to the race that has been set before me.

If one drink is going to put me in a position where I could possibly be filled more with drink than I am with the Holy Spirit, then I don't want anything to do with it.

And the truth is, having one just makes having two that much easier for me.

The Lord really showed me that day that He doesn't want me to have anything more to do with it.

Someone asked me, "what about at home..when it's just you and Shane...what about a glass of wine with dinner?".

My answer to that is I'm not really sure...we're so cheap that we don't buy wine to have at home that often. So, drinking a glass of wine at home with my hubby wouldn't be the sin that easily entangles me, anyway.

My best answer to that is, I'm not sure..but God is, and I trust that He'll make it clear...and as He speaks, I will obey.

Funny isn't it, how when your life isn't all about you anymore, the things you once held so tightly to just don't seem to matter in comparison to being a faithful servant to your King?

At least, that's how I see it.

4 comments:

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this personal subject with us.

When God speaks to us or tests us, sometimes it's hard for others to understand what we hear He wants us to do. But, like Abraham, living by faith requires obedience to follow when He calls without question about how or what or why. Abraham and his family left their homeland to go to the desert without any idea of where God would lead them. Abraham obeyed because God said so. Abraham's belief that God was in control and would take care of them was all the motivation he needed to act in faith.

I think about my own children, when I ask them to do something and they ask "why?" Sometimes there is no tangible reason I can give them that they could understand because they are children. So I say "because I said so." Do I still expect them to obey without a reason? Absolutely! Because I love my children, I instruct them with parental wisdom they don't yet grasp. Does God love us as His children and expect obedience when we don't understand why we have to obey? Absolutely!

God didn't promise we would have any answers to the questions of who or what or why, He just asks for obedience as our Heavenly Father. Obedience and faith are so intertwined that they can not be separated by those who truly live by faith. As my understanding of faith grows, I am amazed how God will use circumstances I don't understand for his glory.

Love You!

Jesica said...

Laura,
Thanks for your comments and insights! I love all that you said!
I agree that obedience and faith are intertwined, especially when one truly understands that they are loved by God, and that all that He asks of us is out of His love for us!
Hugs,
Me

D.L. White said...

In response to Laura's comment, I think its important to point out too that it isn't a blind faith or a blind obedience. It's an informed faith.

Even though we can't know all the answers or the reasons why or see the whole picture, we still have knowledge of who God is and what He has promised He would do, and we can see how He has been faithful in the past (with us and with all the people throughout the Bible).

And sometimes, later, the reasons for things are made clear to us, while other questions are left unanswered. However, the good news is when we are with our Father in heaven, then we will see all things clearly and fully understand his glorious plan.

Sorry - that didn't really apply to Jesica's post and was kind of a tangent off of Laura's comment and really didn't make much sense. Proof that I shouldn't be trying to write deep thoughts this late at night... :P

Laura said...

d.l.,

You're right, my understanding of faith is based on God's faithfulness and my relationship to Him. Because He has been faithful in the past with my obedience, I know He will be faithful in the future with anything and everything, no matter how crazy or impossible I think it is. I spend time in the Word, in fellowship and in prayer to get clarification but I no longer tell God He has to explain things to me or make the way clear before I will obey. With all that, I still might not understand what He asks, but that's ok.

That's what I was trying to say with the Abraham example. Abraham already had a relationship with God, so when He spoke, Abraham obeyed because he knew God's character was faithful and God wants the best for His children.

Sorry, I forget the blog audience is bigger than just my friends who know me and know my understanding of who God is. Thanks for clarifying.