Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28 NLT)
“Because I said so.” Those four words were about the most abrupt –yet most profound– explanation I would receive as a child, when instructed by my parents or grandparents to do something. As a matter of fact, usually by the time I heard those words, it was because I had exhausted their patience with my “why-ning” (smile) and was skating mighty close to some disciplinary action!
Aren’t we a lot like that with our Heavenly Father sometimes too? The evidence is everywhere as we see common breakdowns in our Christian faith: church splits, confusion, moral plummeting, folks going rogue, and perhaps the saddest of all, believers in general living less than victorious, effective, forward-moving lives. Why? Because instead of heeding God’s instructions the first time around, we often instead go on a geocaching expedition in hopes of unearthing some exemption clause from having to be obedient. Whew…that was a mouthful. But it’s true. Why can’t we just do what He says? After all, He IS God…
Our whole lives, we wrestle with that all-important inquiry, “Why am I here? Why do I exist?” And the answer is just as matter-of-fact as the “Because I said so” we heard from our parents. We are here to achieve God’s purposes, pure and simple. No one is born without a reason. No one is without a Divine purpose. When we sidestep God’s plan, however, and go after our own agenda, is when we see every defining trait we’ve been given turn into something angry, corrupt, vile, perverse. Example? A man of ingenuity and powerful leadership skills becomes a Jim Jones or an Adolf Hitler. I realize that these are the absolute worst-case scenarios, but imagine what could have been if these men would have surrendered their hearts and gifts to God instead of to the enemy. The Apostle Peter was a loudmouthed hothead whose aggressive nature got him into more than one pickle. Yet when his outspoken passion got sanctified by the Holy Ghost, he became the emboldened herald of Pentecost, who preached like he was on fire…because he was! This is what happens when we allow God to harness the best and worst of our nature and guide us in HIS direction.
Oh, that we would just save ourselves years of setbacks and heartache, and just surrender to His will for our lives. We waste so much time trying to become important, trying to gain respect by earning our pea-sized merit badges for the world to admire. Hay and stubble on that Great Day when our works are tried in the fire. Poof! Burned up in a split second. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t get college degrees, promotions on the job, work hard and save up for retirement—BUT! What if, in order to get those things, we have systematically tuned out God’s voice when He tried to lead us another way? I believe with all my heart that anything we gain by disobedience to God will only result in failure and bitter disappointment in the end.
We’re so afraid that if we say “yes” to Him, He’ll make us do something we hate for the rest of our lives. Not so! Whatever was birthed in you to do, when you do it under the covering of His authority, will just “click” into place. It will be the most natural thing, the most satisfying thing you’ve ever done. He may indeed be leading you to go after that 8th consecutive college degree, and He may have even led you to tenaciously pursue the CEO’s chair or a career in professional sports, but if He’s really instructed you to pour all of your heart and soul into an endeavor, it’s still for His glory and a Divine purpose…not to have other people ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all YOU’VE done. Just check your motives, and begin to listen for His instruction.
How do we know whether we’re in His will or not? Sometimes we’ve ignored His voice so long that it’s hard to remember the sound of it. But I challenge you to ask yourself three things:
- Did God specifically tell me to do this with my life; or, have I heard His call to another purpose and decided to do it later, after I do my own thing first?
- Is what I’m doing in violation of any part of His Word?
- If He asked me to sacrifice it on the altar of obedience, would I or could I do it?
Our prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank You first of all for creating me in Your image. I can’t begin to understand why and how You deliberately planned for me a hope and a future, but I want to fulfill that purpose and ultimately to please You and make You glad You willed for me to be born. Take my life and use it fully for your good pleasure. Weed out all the ugly, unproductive things growing in my character, and straighten whatever I may have warped by my disobedience. Every talent, every gift, every ability You’ve instilled within me, I surrender to Your Divine will. Don’t allow me to be satisfied with anything less —and don’t allow me to aspire to be anything more— than exactly what You want for me. I say yes to Your will now, just BECAUSE YOU SAID SO, and I do it in Jesus’ name.”
©2012 Lisa Crum