“The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”” Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT)
When it comes to obedience to God, do you need a leash?
Lately, we’ve been doing some obedience training with our two dogs, Lucy and Daisy. One of the areas where we’ve been working with them is keeping them within safe boundaries, more specifically our front deck. We’re trying to teach them to stay on the deck and not get off without our permission. Most of the time they do a great job. However, this is still a work in progress.
Unfortunately, I discovered that they may not have been as fully and completely trained as I had thought. Several weeks ago, I decided to take the dogs out onto the front deck with me in the morning. This wasn’t unusual since we’d been training them to stay on the deck for quite some time now. They had been enjoying coming out with me in the mornings as I did my quiet time outside.
I had been spoiling the dogs a bit allowing them to come out more often than usual because the kids were away at their grandparents for the week, and the dogs were missing them. They had been very good and obedient…up to this point. On this particular morning I noticed Lucy perked up immediately and started staring out into the front yard. I turned my gaze to where she was staring. Instant panic struck as soon as I saw the object of Lucy’s attention. It was a bunny rabbit.
I’ve decided that obeying God should really come with a warning label. I mean really, people should be warned to expect opposition and attacks when they start obeying God. Quite honestly the devil doesn’t like our obedience. He knows the good that will come of it. He knows it’s dangerous for him. So, He’s going to fight back. People need to know to expect it.
Warning: Obeying God may cause serious side effects to occur. Some people have reported financial trouble, health problems, criticism, false accusations, betrayal, relational trouble, natural disasters, legal trouble, physical assault, property damage, life threatening events, and things just going wrong in general. In some cases death has occurred. This is not a complete list of possible side effects.
When we step out and start obeying God, we’re going to have some attacks from the devil. It’s inevitable. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll experience attack every time, but it is a definite possibility. The more we expect it, the better prepared we can be.
Somebody warned me about obeying God
One of the best things anybody did for me was give me similar advice. When I first started volunteer teaching at Glory House, the director, Susie, told me expect attacks and expect things to go wrong. It kind of actually took me by surprise. At the same time, however, I felt a bit relieved because I had already indeed started to experience exactly that!
Incremental Obedience…God Leads in Steps NOT Leaps
The phrase “leap of faith” is commonly used in Christian circles. I’ve probably even used the term myself. But did you know that this phrase is actually unscriptural. God leads in steps NOT leaps. We’re not frogs. We’re humans. Humans walk, not jump. We need to learn how to practice incremental obedience via steps that God gives us.
I’ve recently been reading through the devotional plan “How to Neighbor” by Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life.Church on the YouVersion Bible app. It’s an excellent 10 day plan! I highly recommend it. In part of the plan Pastor Craig is talking about Esther and her pivotal role in helping God’s people. He mentioned that Esther had to take steps of incremental obedience…
“As a teen, Esther pushed back darkness and risked everything for her neighbors because Mordecai, her adoptive father, reminded her why she was alive “for such a time as this.” Think about this. Esther, and every other person who’s ever done anything valuable for God, basically just took incremental steps of obedience.”
The frequently quoted scripture, “Perhaps you were made…for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) can apply to our lives too. We will have “for such a time as this” moments throughout our lives. Those moments will require steps, not leaps, of incremental obedience leading up to them.
Mistakes Can Turn Into Success: Look at these examples of bad turned good…
In last week’s post we talked about how our failures and mistakes can contribute to some of our insecurities. We tend to beat ourselves up for the mistakes we make. It never ceases to amaze me though how God can take our disobedience and mistakes and turn them into something beautiful. He can take something that I completely jacked up and then turn it around to be a blessing to me and to others.
Did you know there are several products and inventions that came from mistakes? To name a few…the Slinky, Penicillin, plastic, chocolate chip cookies (thank goodness for this mistake!), potato chips, the pacemaker, silly putty, safety glass, microwave ovens, corn flakes, Post-it notes (another one of my favorites!), x-rays, superglue, popsicles, vulcanized rubber (i.e. tires), and matches. Here’s a fun read about the 20 Most Fascinating Accidental Inventions all originating from mistakes. I personally believe many of these mistakes turned success were probably God-inspired. There are stories throughout the bible of mistakes turned success too.