What Are You Holding Back From God?
A few years ago I heard a helpful guideline to teach my children while training them in the day regarding obedience and what it entails. The teaching held that there are three aspects of true obedience. It must be “cheerful, immediate, and thorough.” Although I have had to learn the hard way a good and rightful way of teaching this behavior, the goal it produces has always stuck with me.
It is troublesome to me when I ask my children to do something and they do not follow through in a truly obedient way. Feet are dragging. Attitudes are wanting. The task gets half finished. Or I get the, “Just one minute mom…” while they continue working on whatever it is that they were doing, even though stopping for a moment would not be detrimental.
All of these behaviors signify a heart issue for the child doing it, one which essentially reveals a misallocation of my position of authority to their own. One which shows a lack of whole-hearted love and deep appreciation for who I am in their lives…but honestly, I don’t fault them this. They’re kids! I realize that the depth of their true appreciation and love for my husband and I will grow and develop over the years as they mature and develop. =0)
But, it is still our job in the mean time to teach them the right way to live and behave, whether or not full understanding is present in the moment of obedience. Sometimes the “why” is way too far above their heads, and that is okay.
Even We, the Parents, are God’s Children
I often see myself and my own experiences with the Lord in these little instances of day-to-day events with the kids. I recall my own struggles with obedience as the Lord revealed to me various truths of the faith that challenged what I knew or previously thought to be accurate. I remember spiritually fighting with Him in frustration when things were not going “my way” even though I was obeying Him in my actions. And yet, I continued to grow and be challenged to mature more and more along the way as the Lord revealed His greatest desire for my life: to have my heart completely and utterly devoted to bringing Him glory, without regard for the necessary sacrifices I may need to make. In other words, that my life would grow less and less significant in my own eyes as his glory and honor grew greater and greater. To this end my soul continues to grow and mature.
I know that a life dedicated to the Lord can seem scary or undesirable, but the truth is that if we know the honest character of God we, His children, will not fear what we must “give up” or change. We will know in our deepest soul that God is leading us to a life of true and meaningful blessing. Psalm 23 is such a beautiful depiction of the calm and peaceful place that the Lord seeks to bring the spirits of each of His children, no matter what our circumstances. Read with me this most wonderful of Psalms, which reminds us over and over of the nature of God as He guides our most precious lives for His purposes:
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Obedience to God is Not a Burden
We so often put contingencies on our obedience to God: “Lord, I will start going to church when I find a church that I feel comfortable attending; Lord, I will speak respectfully to my husband when he starts acting in a more loving way to me; Lord, I will start reading your Word daily when my life calms down and I have more time; Lord, I will start having children when we have enough money saved up for their futures…” and on and on we go. But, the Lord requires our simple obedience, whether or not our understanding comes first.
In many cases when the Lord gives us a directive, i.e. tells us something to do, and we do not obey immediately, we not only suffer the season of incurred discipline by Him as we learn about ourselves and Him as our Lord, but we also miss out on the opportunity of blessing that He otherwise sought to give to us! He guides us to green pastures and still waters…not lakes of fire and stormy clouds. This we must always, always remember, for the Enemy of our souls seeks to confuse, deceive, and mislead God’s children at every turn.
Choose Today to Walk With God
So, I ask you, what are you holding back from God? On what in your life have you put contingencies where God has revealed to you something you must change or stop and you have simply said, “Not until ____”? I urge you, brothers and sisters in Christ, now is the time to stop running from God. Ask Him to reveal to you why you are running away from obedience and to give you the wisdom to effectually deal with your misconceptions of His character or who He is in your life. Our God is a gracious God, and He loves a humble and contrite heart. Today’s the day to begin anew with Him. Stop running and start walking with the Lord one step at a time.
And this remember, God is so much more patient and loving than we could ever imagine. He leads us in steps that are the right size for the grace He will bestow upon us moment by moment. As the saying goes, He does not lead us to eat an elephant in one bite…He guides us through the task one bite at a time. Trust His leading and guidance and He will make your paths straight. This is my prayer for you today!
What About You?
Have you experienced a divine “turn around” in your own life? If you would like to share below all that the Lord has done for you, we would all be truly blessed. Let us not stop giving testimony to the goodness of our God!