A lesson in obedience

I have been learning about what it means to be obedient. Obedience to the person of the Holy Spirit in every part of my life … Deliberately choosing to live entirely obedient to His leading and by His power. Even if I don’t understand it. Even if I am not even sure it’s right. Even if it makes me uncomfortable. Because God care more about my character than my comfort. And He cares more about His Kingdom than the things of this world.

It takes practice, training, to listen and act upon the voice of the Holy Spirit within our lives. I am often saying, praying that is, that I am “willing,” that I am ready to be used by God for His purposes. But I make decision after decision that shows I am really not. I have too much experience ignoring the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And that makes it more difficult to hear Him. I am not often willing—as I think is sadly not uncommon—because of fear. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of failure. Fear of looking like a crazy Jesus freak. Fear.

Sometimes that fear is grounded in reality. I am not good at a lot of things. A lot of things. One of them is speaking publicly. I am a writer and I much prefer to think over and rewrite my words, rather than stumble through them in speech. And it frustrates me that they don’t come out as eloquently as I’d like. But saying that I am not good at it is no excuse if God calls me to action. I need to get out there and do it anyway. My weakness is God’s strength. If I only did things that I was good at, how does God get the glory?

Obedience is a confirmation of my love for God. The consequence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in us is the end of fear. Fear or distrust of God is evidence that one’s love is immature. When a relationship of trust casts out fear, you will know your love has matured. In that sense, it is better to be obedient and be wrong than to ignore your call, whatever it may be. I really started wrestling with this issue last fall when I attempted to deliver lunches to homeless in downtown Chicago. I was obedient, despite the outcome. God will not set you up for failure. Trust in Him and not yourself. It will take a little practice. In my obedience, I spoke to a group of high school girls about sex. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect. But it was my turn to step out in faith. And I feel more prepared for my next opportunity. What might you do for the kingdom glory of God?

“Do you not know?
       Have you not heard?
       The LORD is the everlasting God,
       the Creator of the ends of the earth.
       He will not grow tired or weary,
       and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.”
–Isaiah 40:28-31


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