Being obedient used to present a challenge for me. To be fair, it wasn’t that I was intentionally being disobedient, in fact, I desperately desired to walk in obedience. The problem was, I would feel that stirring from the Spirit, sometimes in undeniable ways, and I would immediately begin to analyze what I was feeling. My thought process went something like this…
“Was that a stirring from the Spirit or is that my own fleshly desire?”
“Wait, He can’t really want me to do that.”
“If I ask that man if I can pay for his groceries, I may embarrass him.”
“I certainly can’t give money to every person standing alongside of the interstate. Why this one?”…as I continue to drive on past.
You see, I let my own worldly thoughts get in the way of responding to God in direct obedience. Have you ever noticed the stories in the New Testament that talk about people being obedient in following Jesus? They have one thing in common. They responded to Jesus in obedience by going ‘right away’ or ‘immediately’ after He called them.
In Luke 5, after not catching any fish, Jesus instructed Simon Peter and his friends to try again. Simon Peter was doubtful, however; he chose to obey Jesus anyway. After catching an abundance of fish, Simon Peter fell to his knees and called himself a sinner for not believing. Jesus replies in Luke 5:10-11, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people. And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” (NLT)
Later in Luke 5, we see another example of this immediate obedience. Verses 27-28 state, “Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.” (NLT).
Being obedient is not always easy. Being obedient is not always popular. Being obedient does not always make sense. Being obedient IS the way to experience undeniable fellowship with the Spirit.
This summer, I went to Africa on a short term mission trip. Being obedient and following Jesus to Africa was difficult in many ways. I knew this is where God was calling me even if my decision wasn’t receiving the ‘popular vote’ from some of my friends and family. Some were concerned about safety. Some did not understand why I would go across the world when there were local missions who needed people. I knew one thing. I knew that Africa was the safest place I could be since that is where God was leading me. And I knew that in order to experience complete fulfillment, I needed to follow wholeheartedly. I was right. He was right. He is never wrong. While this was difficult obedience, often I find obedience in the ‘big things’ is not as hard as obedience in the ‘little things.’ God wants us to delight in being obedient in the little things in order to know that He can trust us with the big things. Do not ignore that stirring. There is a special feeling that comes with reaching out to someone that God has placed on my heart and hearing, “You have no idea how much I needed that encouragement today.” Friend, you are right…I had no idea…but He did. Obedience as simple as that gives me pure delight. Imagine how obedience in all things delights Him…