In our Christian walk, some of us struggle with obeying God. This relates to obeying the scriptures as well as the personal instructions/assignments God gives us. For most of us, our desire is to please God in how we live our lives. We may declare, “My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent me….” (John 4:34, AMP), but what happens when Father gives you clear instructions that just seems impossible or even absurd. What then?
Before you respond, consider how we tend to respond:
- Obey and do it heartily. Our classic example is Jesus Christ who left Heaven to reconcile us to God by giving up His life.
- Obey but do it grudgingly. This is akin to a child dragging their feet when asked to tidy their room or do their homework.
- Obey but leave ‘bits’ out. This is partial obedience such as in the case of Saul and the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15).
- Say you will obey yet you don’t. For example, you may be waiting for conditions to be right or change as a result of challenges you have/are facing.
- Try to get out of it. This is by ducking, diving or running away from God (like Jonah) or giving God 101 reasons why His request cannot/should not be carried out (e.g. Moses claiming he was incapable for the mandate ahead of him – Exodus 3-4).
- Outright disobedience. This is your refusal to do what God has asked/is asking of you. We see a classic display of this in the Garden of Eden. For us, it could be He nudges you to forgive someone or sow a financial seed and you don’t.
Can you identify with one or more of the above? I have to say I can. There have been times I get instructions to do something and I go for it with all I have. Yet there have been a few moments, if I’m honest, I find myself trying to reason with God especially when it does not make sense and more so, when I get a limited amount of information. I call these the ‘Go yea’ moments. Being someone motivated by a clear vision along with strategies, goals and tasks, I like to know where I’m going. But over the years, I have discovered that He does not always lay bare His plans. All I get to start with might be the first piece of a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
Learning to obey God
I believe rather that resist, God expects us to obey in faith, trusting He has a plan. Hence, our response really ought to be, “Speak Lord for your servant listens.” And when He does, we ought to write the vision down and get on with it. To support you with this, I would like to start off with three foundational principles:
- Don’t worry about how God is going to accomplish His plan. That’s not your concern! Plus you will drive yourself potty trying to figure Him out.
- Don’t get fixated on the worldly notion of results (size, sales, numbers and other key performance indicators). God views this differently.
- Take a step at a time. Don’t try to run ahead but recognise that God works in seasons and processes us daily.
Ok, now for some meatier titbits…
Partial obedience does not count!
Charles Stanley says, “Obedience is doing what God says, when he says, how he says, where He says”. In short, we have to ensure we tick all the boxes. A key principle to doing this is remaining close enough to God to decipher His voice. To do this, regular prayer and reading of His Word is essential.
Trust Him regardless!
Do you really trust God or does your heart and action betray you? But when we trust God, we are saying we believe Gods sovereignty and power to do and undo. If He instructs you to cross the Red Sea, that means He will make a pathway to get you to the other side. If He commands you to march around your ‘Jericho’, it means He has a plan to bring the walls down without your help. Get the picture? Struggling with this? Do the following: 1) Take a trip down memory lane and remind yourself of Gods faithfulness in your life. 2) Remind yourself of His mighty feats in the Bible. These are bound to raise your levels of faith.
Bring your concerns to God
Rather than trying to get out of doing what He has asked of you, why not bring those concerns to Him? If you think you are too young/inexperienced like Jeremiah, tell Him so. If you are fearful of the unknown, tell Him your concerns. If you are struggling to take the first step, ask for courage, strength, wisdom, resources or whatever you need to get started. One thing I have learnt about God is He wants us to bring our worries to Him. By doing this, we let Him know of our complete reliance on Him.
In closing, I encourage you to obey God no matter what. If you have become disheartened, speak to God about it. If you seem unsure as to which direction to take, meditate on Isaiah 50:11-12. And last of all, encouraged of the fact that your obedience will not be forgotten and you will receive your just reward. So obey and let God worry about the consequences.
Written by Gladys Famoriyo. Author of: Overcoming Emotional Baggage; Healing A Discouraged Heart; Quit Hiding, Start Living! and Bounce Back!