Friday, January 3, 2014

Wherever, Whenever, Whomever, However

                A sister in the Lord and I were talking the other day, and she asked me what my word for 2014 was. I told her it was “obedience”. She replied, “That’s a good one.” I replied, “Yeah, but it kind of scares me. I mean, what exactly is the Lord going to ask me to do?” And to be honest, that is really what I was thinking. I have been praying for the Lord to show me the areas of my life that I need to be obedient in, and He has been faithful to do so. Showing me how to be obedient in the areas of finances, marriage and in the way I spend my time. But this morning, I asked Him what exactly did He mean by “obedience”? What exactly was He expecting to see come to fruition through the word “obedience”? This was His reply.

                “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober; and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;” 1 Peter 1:13-15
    This definition goes along with the blog I wrote yesterday in regards to being obedient in  the time the Lord has given me each day. I am to be ready at a moment’s notice to do the work the Lord will call me to do. I am to be girded up, I am to be ready and willing to go, to speak, to pray, to serve Him wherever and whenever He calls.
     As I read these words, I found the true meaning of obedience, and what exactly the Lord wanted to do in my heart for the next three hundred and sixty five days. Peter tells us to “gird up the loins of {our} mind, be sober”. To gird up means to be ready. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines “gird up” as “the Christian is to have his mental powers alert in expectation of Christ’s coming.” (blueletterbible.org).
                We get so set in our daily routines that when the Lord does call us to do something we either ignore the call or we make an excuse that we are too busy to do it. The Lord is speaking to me, and to you, that we cannot be so boxed in. Don’t be so set in your daily routine that you cannot go when He tells you to go. Don’t be so boxed into your life that you cannot do when He tells you to do. We are to be ready to minister, to pray, to help our fellow neighbor at the drop of a hat.
                How many times I have neglected to help a fellow sister in the Lord because I had other plans that day. How many times could I have done what they needed and instead chose not to because I didn't want to rearrange my schedule? How many times have I turned away from the homeless man on the corner because I didn't have any cash on me, and said, “I’ll do it next time,” but never do? We are to be ready and willing to serve God, whenever, wherever, and however He calls us. But how many times have I instead made excuses.
                Peter goes on to say that we are to “rest our hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to {us} at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. We are to be in full confidence of the Lord’s return. We are to be expecting it at any moment. Once again, this ties into my blog post from yesterday, “Timely Obedience”. We need to be doing His work while we wait for His return. Our hope, our joy and confidence is in Jesus Christ. We wait for His return, but we do not wait while sitting on our hands. We are to be ready and willing to serve Him, whenever, wherever and however He desires us to serve.
              Peter now tells us that we are to be “as obedient children”. We are to be fully submitted and totally surrendered to whatsoever He asks of us, whenever He asks it of us. That is what obedience truly means. This is hard for me, because there are times when the Lord has said to me to give money to someone and I look at my bank account and reply, “I can’t, I don’t have it.” But God did not ask me to give from what I have, He has asked me to give from what He has. We are not to be trusting in what we see, but we are to be trusting in God who gives freely and with reward to those who do His will.
                We are to be ready and willing to do whatsoever He asks of us, in full submission to His direction, not trusting in what we see, but trusting in Him, in whom we have full assurance of His grace and His return. That is what I see when I read Peter’s words to us that we are to not conform ourselves to the former lusts. When I lived in the world, I gave from what I had. I gave to the poor and needy what I could, but I am no longer of this world. We are to look at these moments when God calls us to give, or to serve not with eyes like the world, but with eyes fully and completely fixed on Christ.
                We see our dwindling bank accounts, but the Lord says, “Give”. What are we supposed to do? I believe that Lord is telling us to give, not from what we see, but from the confidence that we have in Him. The confidence that He will provide, that He will bless us as we do His will, and the confidence that if He has directed, He will also provide. When I was in the world, I used to think “If I don’t have it, I can’t give it”. But God is showing me that is not how I am to look at these situations. I may not have enough time in the day to do all I want to accomplish. But who gave me the time? God gave me the time. If He has asked me to stop what I am doing and go and minister to a sister in need, will He not redeem the time for me? Will He not also give back to me what I gave for Him? Has He ever failed us? No, and He never will. We are not to give from what we have, but we are to give out of what He has. And the last time I looked, our God was the owner of all things- even our bank accounts.


                Being obedient means that we are ready to do whatsoever our God asks of us, whenever He asks it of us. It means that we are willing and fully submitted to His leading. Even though it may look crazy or stupid to the world around us, we are to do it, no matter what. Obedience means that we are willing to sacrifice our own selves for the sake of others. It means that we are willing to give, even when it hurts. It means that we are willing to lay down what we know and be fully confident of the hope we have in Him. Obedience means that we are ready, willing and fully submitted to take up the call He gives us, whenever, wherever and to whomever He directs. There is no excuse, all He asks from us is to be obedient children, and trust that He will always take care of us. Are we willing to sacrifice our own selves to be obedient to Him when He calls, to be obedient to His commands, wherever, whenever and to whomever that might be?