So not my favorite word.
One word can bring excitement and fear, energy and weariness, hope and pessimism, joy and sadness. No doubt it does the same to you. God asks us to do some things that are crazy, hard, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. The outcomes of those things can be good or not, and we may not even see the outcome at all.
Are we sure we did the right thing? Did we do it well enough?
We all know half-hearted obedience is not obedience at all. Surely your parents told you such things…or you’ve said them to other short people. God says the same. We’re not halfway in when following Jesus.
He expects – and DESERVES – wholehearted obedience. Regardless.
We encounter lots of people and circumstances in our lifetimes. Very few will react the way we want or expect them to in any given situation. The same is true when we are being obedient to the Lord. Reactions are the immediate replies we encounter.
Example: I tell my children after running multiple errands and a long day that we are back home to stay for the evening. A friend calls and needs some help. We need to be there. I tell the kids to put their shoes on so we can head out. Their reaction is the first words out of their mouths after hearing the news.
Reactions can be a bit intimidating. They can be strong, good or bad, but they are the immediate reply of our heart without thought or processing.
In our obedience to the Lord, we are not responsible for their reactions of others. We are simply called to do what God said to do.
Different than a reaction, a response is the reply after folks have had time to process information, possibly ask questions, and ponder their feedback. Responses can be just as strong if not stronger than reactions. With a response can come excuses, reasoning, research, etc.
Example: Once my sweet children are in the car and we are headed to our friends, their response is their attitude and words as we go. They’ve had time to think about what we are doing and why, ask questions (sometimes a million) and have a response to it all.
Responses too can be intimidating, especially if they are not what we expected. They are the processed output in response to words or actions of others.
Again, in our obedience to the Lord, we are not responsible for the responses of others. We are simply called to do what God said to do.
This one can be the hardest. We (okay, maybe just me) have visions in our head of what can be and what the Lord could do. It doesn’t always turn out like I expected. This is where relationships could change, visions could crumble, hearts can be broken, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The results of our obedience can be hard to swallow sometimes. We long for good outcomes, encouraging directions, and good fruit, but we don’t always see it.
Example: Taking my children out again to help a friend can result in negative attitudes about the inconvenience of friends or it could instill in their hearts the desire to love others well.
Results can be encouraging or discouraging and sometimes they can be a long time coming. Just ask some of those patriarchs they list in Hebrews 11. Most of them never saw the full results of their obedience to the Lord. We may never either. God doesn’t promise we will, though. He just says to go.
Again, in our obedience to the Lord, we are not responsible for the results. We are simply called to what God said to do.
God has called us to obedience – wholehearted, courageous obedience – regardless of reaction, response, or result.
May we be faithful to Him today.
I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, in keeping with a command we have received from the Father. So now I urge you, lady-not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning-that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. (2 John 1:4-6)
** NOTE: This blog is part of a link up over at Planting Roots! Check it out here.