How do you react when God tells you to do something? Do you do it suddenly or does it take time for you to respond? Do you assess how it will benefit you or what you will lose if you do it? Do you try to make sense of what He told you to do? What goes through your mind?
In the past when God told me to do something I would assess the situation. I would wait for an opportune time at times and then at other times I would simply not do it because it didn’t make sense but yesterday I was saw another side of obedience through the apostle Paul.
Acts 21:12 is where I am going to speak from. The long and short of the story is this, the Apostle Paul is on his way to Jerusalem but on his way he stops at Phillip the Evangelist’s house. As he is there a prophet by the name of Agabus comes to the house and basically prophesies that Paul was going to be arrested and handed over to ungodly people. (Acts 21:12)
After that the people with Paul try to dissuade him from going. What hit me was Paul’s answer to them and I am going to read it from The Message bible.
“When we heard that, we and everyone there that day begged Paul not to be stubborn and persist in going to Jerusalem. But Paul wouldn’t budge; “Why all this hysteria? Why do you insist on making a scene and making it even harder for me? You’re looking at this backward. The issue in Jerusalem is not what they do to me, whether arrest or murder, but what the Master Jesus does through my obedience. Can’t you see that? Acts 21:12,13
Paul knew it was God’s plan for him to go to Jerusalem and that is why he was so stubborn and on top of that he was not looking at what was about to happen to him instead he was looking at what God would do through his obedience!!!! That was more important to him than the temporary discomfort and pain he was about to face!!
In other words, in Paul’s case the issue was not about what he was about to experience, instead it was about what God could do through his obedience!!
To be honest, until yesterday I had never seen obedience like that. The people in the room with Paul were trying to save his life. They had good intentions but their good intentions stopped them from seeing what God could do from Paul’s obedience.
How many times has God told us to do something and we don’t do it because we are focused on the pain, and the discomfort it will cause us?
Like I said in the beginning, I am in this boat as well. There are things God has told me to do that I have shrunk back from because I have looked at the discomfort it will cause me or the amount of work or the amount of obstacles I would have to face. I asked God to forgive me and after that to teach me how to be obedient. I hope you are beginning to see obedience in a new light.
How does all this relate to us in this time, you might be asking? Well, the first thing to note about obedience is, the issue is not about what people will say or what people will think and so on but what the Lord will do through our obedience! That is what God showed me yesterday.
Jesus did the same thing. He knew what He was going to go through yet He carried on. He knew the pain and isolation He would experience but He could also see what God could accomplish through His obedience! That took first place above what He felt. He never allowed His feelings and His discomfort and pain get in the way. Instead He focused on all that God would accomplish through His obedience!
As I was meditating on this principle I had a thought. Could God work in our lives if we are not obedient? Can He operate and do great things in our lives when we walk in disobedience? I don’t have an answer right now but what do you think? I guess I will end the post with this question. Can God work through a person who is disobedient? I would love to hear what your thoughts are on the topic and question…