Obey Without Delay
Back in January I wrote an outline for a series that I had titled “Preparing my heart to hear from God”. I thought about it and thought about it, but never actually wrote the articles and now I think I know why. While my bullet points and thoughts were relevant and I will still use them, I forgot the most important first step in the process. So now, I’m finally getting around to writing this series and I have much better insight in how to walk you through listening for God’s instructions.
It must start with obedience. Now wait, you say, I’m reading this because I don’t know what my instructions are, so what am I supposed to do here? I’m so glad you asked. While it is possible that you have absolutely nothing on your agenda from God, the majority of the time He has already given you an instruction. Possibly it is conviction of a sin that you need to deal with. Possibly it is something He has already put on your heart to do but you’ve been afraid to do it. Possibly He has already told you to open up your Bible and start reading.
Stop waiting to obey! Seek forgiveness for your sins and stop repeating the habits you have been convicted to stop! Do that small thing He’s asked you to do and stop asking for another assignment until you’ve accomplished it! Open your Bible and start reading instead of just staring off into space wishing that God would start talking to you over a loudspeaker. And if His voice did come over the loudspeaker don’t you think He would remind you of the things He’s already told you to do?
God can do whatever He wants. He can still use you while you are in the middle of sinning, and He can choose to give you a new assignment before you’ve finished the old. However, I think many of us get stuck and don’t feel like we are advancing and the first problem is a lack of obedience.
There are many different reasons I get stuck in disobedience. Sometimes it’s simply that I don’t want to do what I’ve been called to do. But if that’s my attitude about one small assignment, why should God trust me with anything greater? Sometimes I’m afraid of something I’ve been called to do. I get really insecure about reaching out to other women and yet that is something that God calls me to do over and over again. Sometimes I’m lazy and that causes me to delay obedience. Sometimes I say I’m just too busy and don’t prioritize God’s promptings. Sometimes I have doubts about whether something really is from God. Sometimes I have doubts about God in general.
However, excuses, fears, selfishness, etc. need to be put aside if you truly want to receive direction from the Lord. Why wait? I find that the longer I delay the more vulnerable I become to attacks of discouragement, lies, doubts, fears, and distractions. So I challenge you to really look into your own heart right now and acknowledge what God has already shown you. Then, before you can lose heart or get distracted, tell it to a trusted friend for accountability.
Once you’ve cleared the slate, so to speak, you are ready to begin asking God for additional assignments. Perhaps you will immediately know your next steps, but if not, next week I will go into more details on preparing your heart to hear from God.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you that you’ve given us all another day full of opportunities to do your will. Lord, please stir our hearts and remind us of what you’ve already called us to do. Lord, please give each of us the determination to be obedient to these convictions. Lord, we want to be used by you because you love us.
Lord, you have given us passions and dreams but so often we do not know why or how they will be accomplished. Let us seek You first so that you will shape us into who you want us to be. Let us be patient as you work on our hearts so that we do not give up. Let us be obedient to the things you’ve called us to do even when we don’t understand their purpose. Let us not be lazy or self-centered, but instead be energized to do your work. Let us surrender our sins so that we are free from distractions. And Lord, please protect our minds, hearts, and spirits from the lies of the enemy. Let us learn how to be filled with your truths so that there is no room for the doubts and lies. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Jeremiah 7:23 “but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
1 Samuel 15:22 “But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”
James 4:7-10 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
Hebrews 12:1-13 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make
light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
Micah 6:8 “He
has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”