I have a confession to make…
I did not say “yes” today! In fact, I know all the right things to say and many days they are flowing right out of my mouth. You can take one look at me and on the outside I’m also doing all the right things. I am a Master of creating the appearance that I am following through with the “yes”. Instead, I create the allusion of the right motions and barely touch the surface of my life through busyness and the facade that I have it all together. The “yes” that should be an automatic becomes a stubborn “no”. The obedience that is needed to follow God’s plan and not my own agenda becomes a struggle. The result…many times I am not working in true obedience to what God has called me to do.
This dilemma has caused me to pause and ponder “obedience”. My definition of “obedience” is a deep commitment to something or someone. It is the ultimate follow through with “yes” without hesitation. When looking into the synonyms for obedience on dictionary.com, I found suggestions such as compliance, conformity, submission and willingness. I am especially transformed by submission and willingness.
Submission = ALL IN
Willingness = GIVE IT YOUR ALL
As I reflect and understand what true obedience is all about I turn to the story of Jesus and Peter from the book of Matthew when Jesus walks on water. Jesus told His disciples to get in a boat and go on ahead without Him. He then went up on the mountain and spent the night in prayer. Just before dawn, Jesus went out to meet His disciples who were now far away from land in their boat. Jesus walked on the water toward them frightening His disciples who thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus calls out “don’t be afraid”. The story continues here:
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:28-33
This is a story of submission and willingness. Jesus asks us to go “all in” for Him everyday. We need to show our willingness in order to truly obey God’s story for our lives. Peter reminds me of a child at the edge of a pool. Mom or dad calls to him and says “jump in, the water feels great!” The child hesitates and instead dips his foot gently into the water to get a feel for the temperature. That one dip either follows with an unabandoned jump into the pool or walking away because the water is too cold. Peter started to walk toward Jesus willingly but as soon as one little bit of doubt entered his mind his ability to go “all in” quickly faded.
Obedience is a willing, all in proposition that God calls us to daily. It is difficult and requires absolute abandon of the daily triggers or challenges that come our way. It involves getting back up or jumping cannonball style into the pool of our doubts even when that is the last thing we want to do. The good news is that the benefits of obedience are abundant and we have a mighty God who is ready to jump into the pool with us. We were made for and by God to flourish in this world and open ourselves to the possibilities that God lays before us. The challenge is still present – will you go all in for Jesus? Will you delight in obedience to God each day?
I pray that we may extend each other grace on this road to obedience. That when our “yes” becomes hesitant and uncertain we may find the strength to let God step in. When the walk is easy, we will rejoice but when we are digging deep for our “willingness” to show up, we can reach out our hand for the person near us to help them as God helps us. Psalm 86:11-12 provides the perfect prayer to praise God and and seek His guidance when needed:
Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
Be blessed, love well and delight in obedience everyday!
Linking today with P31OBS and blessed to be part of the Made to Crave study!