At the beginning of every new year, often my ministry friends would seek the Lord for a “word” or focus for the coming year. Amazingly, often, they were very similar in their intent, if not the same word. One year the word the Lord gave me was weakness! Not something I would have expected, but one that really added grace and mercy to my life. I may have been the only one with that word!
This year, when I wasn’t even asking! He spoke a word very quietly in my spirit. That word is “obedience”. He spoke with such love, care and peace that I could only receive it with joy. Of course obedience should be something we walk in all the time. A mind set every mature believer incorporates into their daily lives. But to be honest, there are times we self debate, over think, procrastinate or just plain ignore those promptings made by His Holy Spirit.
Often our reluctance to obey quickly is our fear of the cost. The cost we fear can be emotional, spiritual, relational or even financial. Imagine our friend Noah, receiving His assignment to build the ark. I wonder how long he debated in his heart before he told Mrs. Noah and the family? How long before they went public with the build? Yet, something in Noah caused him to overthrow all his concerns, and he obeyed. God’s will and purpose accomplished. Every rainbow we enjoy testifies to Noah’s obedience.
As you read through the Bible, notice the fruits of obedience. They abound. We are reaping the results of others’ obedience. Especially those who wrote all the original books of the Bible. Esther, Jeremiah, and Elijah left an inspiring legacy for us to follow. The New Testament has its heros too. Paul, of course, not only in his writings, but his example of teaching, preaching, traveling, even while suffering beatings, shipwrecks , and imprisonments. Timothy, as a young man, established churches. John, the revelator, living in exile on Patmos, encountered many visions and “revelations” by the Spirit of God. We benefit from his isolation even today. Yes, the cost of obedience can be high. It can cost our life. But it also leads to life. Living a life of obedience is a life that leaves a legacy for others. It is not a selfish life. It is a selfless life. It is a life that cultivates the laying down of “what about me?” mindset. It is a decision to live for Him, and not for ourselves.
It really comes down to our relationship with Him. If you love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15. Maybe we won’t be asked to build an ark, or safe a nation; but we may, by our obedience, bring life, hope and grace to someone else. Minimally, the fruit of our obedience will be a closer walk with Jesus. Do not stress about hearing His voice in these matters. As every good parent, He will make His will known to you. Just ask Him to speak, open your ears, eyes and heart. He is a good Father and will lead and guide us. When in doubt, remember, charity never fails, so simply do whatever you feel you are inspired to do with and in His love.
If we walk in obedience, we will surely hear “well done, my servant and friend”. How amazing that will be!