When we are little children, right and wrong are so very simple. Just do what our parents allow and abstain from what they prevent. Stop when they say stop and proceed when they approve. Not so simple when you grow up.
There are foundational dos and don’ts out of Exodus: no idols, no using the Lord’s name out of place, no murder, no adultery, no lying, no lies, no lusting someone’s spouse; no craving someone’s stuff; honor God as Lord, honor God above any other lesser god, honor the Lord’s day as Holy, honor your parents. And I’m sure we ALL do these with no problem at all. (SMILE!!) Well, at least I know you all do. I’ve got a bad hip from kneeling to repent so often! So very grateful for His forgiveness and His cleansing. But that’s not what I’m wanting you to think about.
What about what happens on the inside of you. If you have a personal relationship with The Lord, there is something in your life that He has asked you to do (or not to do) that is in addition to that list above. You know what I’m talking about – His will for your life. This might be giving your belongings to some person; it might be ending a romantic relationship; it might be writing a book; it might be refraining from some food; it might be moving to some foreign country to serve in missions full time; it might be accepting an illness as His assignment to teach believers how to die, etc. It could be easy and uncomfortable. It could be difficult and unimaginable. The bottom line is – you don’t want to do it!
The Holy Spirit’s conviction is strong within you and yet you don’t act in the way that you are led because of your own confusion or even your own fear. And now – you’re not feeling well, you’re worried about who you’re disappointing, etc. I want to encourage you to trust the Lord enough to act in the way that He is calling you. If you just trust Him the confusion and fear that you are facing will cease! I’m serious! The unrest, sickness, dissension, disunity, fear, duality, and sense of disloyalty to the King of Kings will cease! And let’s just be honest — you’re walking in sin when you act against what you know to be God’s will for you even if that action is not something that is against the teachings of Scripture. I’m praying for you!!
But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. Romans 14:23
1 Kings 20:42 “He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people”
God gave Israel victory and according to God’s law the enemy should have been destroyed – in allowing the king to live, Israel sinned against God.
Sometimes the things that God asks us to do are hard things. They are hard because we view them through a human lens and want to judge the actions based upon human logic. If the Lord tells us to slay a giant – we feel that this act would be inhumane – and we would, instead, want to imprison the giant. This is a truth across our lives and is truly a test of our heart’s devotion to God. When we face an issue, are we really willing to do whatever it is God demands of us? We want Him to assure our victory, but are we really willing to do whatever he demands? I am reminded of the scripture that tells us that those who love him and would follow him would ‘hate’ father, mother, sister, brother, etc. There are times in our lives when God may ask us to cut off relationships, confront sin, admonish the unfaithful and even harder tasks. He assures our victory if we would only obey his word without compromise. But our hearts and minds must be truly girded up with the full armor of God if we are to be able to stand. It is important that we remember at all times that our lives are hidden in – wrapped up in — lost in the person of Jesus Christ. If we take thought of our own desires or even the unpleasant nature of a request posed to us by the Father we are living with our minds on things of this earth. As we set our minds on God’s will and God’s way – it is imperative that we really believe that without obedience victory will not come. We must live our lives in the name of and for the sake of our King. No compromise! It is good to extend mercy – but not if God speaks against it. It is good to be gracious to our enemies – but not if God speaks against it. We must be prayerful – listening – trusting.
Father, As you lead me and guide me, may my heart be malleable, open and ready to receive your instruction. Help me to lean only on your understanding and not be tempted to bring to mind what I believe and know in the flesh. Father help me to obey completely at all times and in all situations. Help me to fight the fear of this world and this age and to embrace Your approval only. May my heart seek to obey, love and trust you with all that is within me. When you tell me to rout the enemy, please give me the courage to do so. When you tell me to extend mercy, please give me the wisdom to do so. Lead me and guide me. I will follow. Amen
This is the title of an old Mississippi Mass Choir song from a while back – the lyrics encourage us to remember that what God will do for a person who submits to His will remains to be seen. Lately, I have been laying out a lot of requests before the Lord – nothing flighty or selfish – but still, there have been many things placed before the Lord. There have been times that I was tempted to just remain a faithful Christian, but somehow get out of this missionary calling – you know – so I can get some things done! (hope you didn’t miss that big “I” in there!) Instead of quick answers to my requests it seems that disappointment looms for a while longer than I desire. I need Him to move my His Spirit on my behalf today! Doesn’t He see that! And in response to my whining – do you know what He asks me? He asks me, “Jan, do you love me?” and of course I say yes. And then do you know what He says to me? He says, “Then love me well, do what I am asking you to do and trust that I know what you need.”
So, I turn to the Bible and ask him to calm my spirit and the words that leap off of the page say that indeed no one has seen or even heard of the good things He has in store for those that love Him. Further, I turn and find that those who love Him will walk in His way. And I know in my heart of hearts that His way for me for this season is a life on the mission field in Ghana. He can and will meet my need and He doesn’t need me to relocate or abandon my calling to do it. He really does have my best interests at heart and He really does delight in meeting the needs of His obedient (though sometimes impatient) children.
I trust Him to meet my need in ways that I cannot imagine or even dream! He will do exceeding abundantly more than I could even reason to ask! Yes He Will – for He is not a man that He should lie to me! He is a faithful God!
So as I lay before the Lord many needs – no folly – real need – I am learning once again today to rest because as the lyrics to the song say:
The safest place in the whole, wide world is in the will of God, trials come great and small just stay in the will of God; come what may from day to day, keep the faith and be still.
It remains to be seen what God can do for the one who submits to His will.