Twice last week, once on the radio and once on TV, I heard a sermon on obedience. I found it interesting because normally, I would not have been in the right time/place to hear/see either. Those instances jolted me into realization that God is telling me something, something important.
As I was watching the broadcast and taking in the message for the second time, I jotted down two statements that stung and stuck. The umbrella statement was “obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” Dr. Charles Stanley followed that with these two statements:
-God is responsible for the consequences of our obedience.
-WE are responsible for the consequences of our disobedience.
Oh my. Those statements really stopped me in my tracks. I had never thought about following God in those terms. But then, the words started sinking in and I’ve spent days thinking about them. Today I looked up some of the resource materials on the sermon and read and re-read them.
It has caused me to look inside and really meditate on areas of my life where I haven’t been willing to obey and surrender. Areas that I want to control or I think I can “handle it on my own.” That has led to nothing but grief. I’m not receiving the full blessing of faith either. God expects me to fully surrender my life, that's fully surrender! And, even though I’ve said that I do, I’m seeing corners inside where I’m trying to hide those areas where I either won’t or think I can’t trust Him. Why is that? There are examples throughout Scripture of people who fully surrendered and lived lives that were shining testaments to God’s glory. There are people today who are in full surrender and other Christians, like me, see their example and think – yes, Lord! Fill me with that desire.
I think in theory it is an absolute yes. In every day life, the struggles begin. I live a pretty regular life, one filled with countless blessings and opportunities daily to shine for Him. But, that every day life also has its ups and downs, challenges and undesirable situations and frankly, unlovable people and moments when I jump ahead of God and try to manage it all myself.
Dr. Stanley gave the example of his own willingness to give up something he was passionate about for the glory of God. God laid it on his heart to sell his cameras and equipment to donate to the Church’s fundraising efforts. I know that I tend to think if God made me passionate about something, why would He ask me to give it up? But then, I think of Abraham and Issac. Certainly God knew He wasn’t going to see that act of sacrifice to fruition. But Abraham didn’t. I’m also pretty sure he was more passionate about Issac than I am about any of my hobbies or my struggles I try to control. Sheer faith in God led Abraham and that’s what I need in my heart. In the end of course, Abraham sacrificed a ram. Dr. Stanley was granted back all his camera equipment. Once God knows that we’re willing to lose it all for Him, he will bless us and put us in line with His plan.
I needed this step in faith. I have more internal examination to do. But I am thankful that God is persistent with me and keeps pressing upon my heart the things not only that He wants me to know, but things that will enrich my walk with Him and grow my faith that much deeper.