The Struggle of Obedience

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

My hearts desire is to faithfully serve my Father, walking in complete obedience to what the Lord asks of me. I know and believe in my heart that his plans are perfect, that he has purposed and has a purpose for all things. But how can I walk in obedience to him when I don’t know what he is asking of me? How can I faithfully follow in his footsteps when I am struggling to discern his will in the midst of my emotions? These questions have been racing and rattling through my brain. I have stepped out in faith multiple times, invested my heart in where I was sure the Lord was leading me. I was wholly invested, ready to embrace God’s plan, but then… disappointment, discouragement, confusion. God broke me for a place and people group. He gave me vision and purpose. He aligned my heart with his. He told me to go, but then closed the door.

“Why did these plans I was so sure of fall apart? God I still trust you. Clearly you have closed a door, show me what it is you want me to do. I will be obedient, my life is yours.”

Then another opportunity arose. I was thrilled at the chance to obediently serve. I stepped out in faith and pursued the direction I felt the Lord leading me in. My heart was wholly invested, ready to embrace God’s plan, but then… disappointment, discouragement, confusion.

Doubt began to seep into my thoughts. Had I heard wrong from the Lord? Was I so eager to have a plan that I acted out of emotion instead of what the Spirit was speaking? I know that I hear God, and I know his voice, but I found myself in a place of wrestling. Wrestling with what God was doing, wrestling with trust, wrestling with why he would speak and not bring about his words. I would like to say that I took a day off from my school work to pray, and God gave me all the answers, but that is not how this panned out. It has been weeks of questions and wrestling. Weeks of praying and seeking. Weeks of fighting and asking God to give me wisdom. Weeks of waiting on him for understanding.

This week I was presented with a difficult and convicting question: If God truly speaks a plan to me and places a direction on my heart, then changes the plan, will I still trust him?

But what if God doesn’t speak – what about silence and seasons of feeling “distant”?

Even when God is not speaking, he is still moving.

The feeling of distance can be challenging, confusing, and frustrating, especially when we are seeking the Lord for direction and waiting on him for counsel. In those times, we must hold on to the truth that when God does seem distant, he is still present, active, and moving. The beautiful aspect of God’s silence is that it forces and challenges us to deepen our trust in him. Sometimes God allows us to come to the end of ourselves so that we must rely on him. If he gave us a play by play schedule of his plan, it would take away from the faith and trust that he desires from us. When we are unsure, choose to trust God, then see how he brought about his will, our faith in him is grown. Nothing that we do defines or changes him; he defines and changes us. God is always moving, whether he speaks or not.  Are we always trusting, or do we choose to listen to doubt when we are anxious for an update?

God’s movement is not dependent on our beliefs, but he invites us into a place of trusting him as he moves. He invites us to be aligned with his will.

Throughout this time of God stretching and growing my trust in him, I have been convicted and challenged. I realized that I had been so focused and worried about what God was doing, that I began focusing my prayers on God’s plan for me, rather than focusing on the purpose behind God’s plan. Now don’t get me wrong, praying for direction is not bad, but should we always be anxiously praying for the “next step”? God challenged me to come to a place of being concerned for his glory, rather than being concerned for my own happiness. God challenged me to shift my prayers – not to always pray about what God was doing but to pray that God would give me the strength, wisdom, and discernment to be obedient. In being obedient to God, we align ourselves with his will and his direction; and through that obedience we see his promises fulfilled. Our prayers should be concerned for God’s glory, not just our own happiness. If we truly desire to align ourselves with what God is doing, then obedience is the key.

I would like to say that through these revelations the Lord gave me all the answers and the direction that he was leading me in; but it doesn’t always work out that way. I still am not sure where God is leading me and I still have many unanswered questions, but these revelations have led me to an even more value result. They have given more depth to my trust in God. They have given peace in the midst of my confusion. They have brought contentment to my striving.

God has presented us with an invitation. He is inviting us to trust him in all things, at all times – when he changes the plan, when he asks us to wait, and when he is silent. Are we focused on bringing glory to his name, or are we more concerned with our own happiness and desires? God is always good, he is always moving, he is always in control, his plans are always perfect, and he will always lead us in his timing.

 

Jesus I want to reflect you, like a mirror where I stand
Not get stuck in these lies like sinking sand
But not just reflect you, God I want to project you
Like film on a screen, Help me to make you seen
I know that you are mighty, You are just, You are true
But how can I live daily looking like you
Your grace overwhelms me, It brings me to my knees
May your grace be sufficient, And your love me enough
I’m thirsty for you, God fill my cup
Adorn me as your bride, Waiting to meet you
At the altar, God help me to seek you
I’m broken and lost, I’m faced with suffering
But I’ve counted the cost, And I count it all as loss
The pleasure, the people, the power, the places, the picture of what this world says is priceless
The invitation you have graciously given, Is so much greater
Knowing that I am forgiven, I will conquer this world
Because you have conquered it for me
I can’t bring myself to turn back, Because I know who sees me
Take away this fear I have of man’s sight
That I might shine you, big and bright
To fear the Maker, The Creator of those very ones with eyes that spite
God give me eyes only for you, Take this life and make me new
To die to myself , Following in your footsteps
To see past the lies, the pain, the sorrow
To eagerly wait, Believing that you could come tomorrow
God make me a mirror, That through my eyes the world would not see me
But only a reflection of you 

Ready to make the jump.

At YWAM Montana-Lakeside, we are all about doing whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, together! We’d love to help you make that next step in your global missions education. Apply now!

Christmas Devotionals

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 Why are people so eager to be done with Christmas? The frenzy now begins in October with Christmas decorations showing up in