Last summer, my sweet girl had a very difficult time obeying my instructions to stay close. She would refuse to hold my hand in parking lots. She would try to hide from me at parks and splash pads and don’t get me started on the special kind of hell that was a grocery store. It broke my heart (among other emotions) because I had all the fun plans! I wanted her to experience such wonderful things, but I couldn’t trust her. It wasn’t safe. I had to keep her within the boundaries I knew she could handle.
Apparently, God feels this way about me, too. He’s been aching to show me bigger things, new opportunities, and hidden dreams, but He wasn’t sure that He could trust me. In fact, I was repetitively showing Him that He couldn’t. Although I’ve been doing lots of self improvement this past year, there’s been this one thing I just couldn’t shake. It was a little thing, really. It wasn’t hurting anyone and I had even convinced myself that it was giving me the upper hand. I’d quit it for a while, then make all the excuses in the world for why it was no big deal. Seriously. It was harmless!
Except, I knew in my heart it wasn’t. It was my version of yanking away His hand, jetting behind a tree, and hiding from His view.
This summer was a completely different story for my truculent tot. She learned that when she listened to me, followed my instruction, and stayed within the boundaries I gave her, she actually experienced more freedom, more elation, more everything! We had the time of our lives and she experienced things that never would have been possible without obedience.
Sometimes God is obvious with His rules. Other times, they are specific and individualized for our own needs. He clearly tells all of us to Love Your Neighbor As Yourself , but You Shall Not Engage in Social Media or Do Not Buy That Thing might be just for you. Staying connected with Him through prayer and His Word are helpful ways to decipher those individual limits, but we can’t negate our gut instincts, either. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we know what we should start or stop doing. He isn’t a God of confusion.
I became exhausted running outside His boundaries. Eventually I realized that no matter how hard I tried, my self-made parameters weren’t secure. And it was only after I conceded to obedience that I became savvy to His amazing plans for me. He was waiting for me to prove that I was ready for the next level. He wanted to bless me, but He wanted to ensure that it would be an actual blessing. He didn’t just want to take me to the park and splash pads; He wanted me to experience Disney World!
God wasn’t blowing smoke when He said in Jeremiah 7:23 “but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
There are lots of other reasons to be obedient other than it “going well with you”, but I think we forget this aspect of obedience all too often. This expression of love deepens our relationship with our Savior and reminds us that His rules are not punishments, but opportunities for something greater.
Live Life on Purpose,