Can I get a show of hands? Have you ever clearly heard the Lord direct you some place that you didn’t want to be?
If I had 10 hands I’d raise all of them.
Ok, put your hands down. Next question- did you obey?
Now I’d probably only be able to raise 7 of those 10 imaginary hands.
Put your hands down.
If you didn’t obey, did God make you do what He was directing you to anyway?
I’m raising hands again. Not happily. But raising them.
Last question, in that (or those) circumstance(s), did God work through you or in you or both?
You might need to think about that question for a bit. And that’s ok.
I’m in a situation right now that God clearly told me to put myself into. Like writing on the wall kind of clarity. (Daniel 5:25) Initially, I thought it was because God wanted to use me in this new place to reach others. So, I obeyed, showed up, and started doing exactly what I thought He wanted me to do.
But this week I noticed I was becoming discouraged and stagnant. In fact, I felt like I maybe I was just obeying for just my kids’ benefit, not for anyone else’s, including my own.
Then yesterday I let my kids have a movie-morning, and my son wanted to watch the VeggieTales Jonah movie.
No problemo! Let’s learn about God while we’re having a chill day.
Have you ever watched it? I love how they wrap it up. “Jonah was a prophet, but he never really got it.”
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read Jonah or listened to a sermon about him, and every time I think, “How could he NOT get it. He was swallowed by a fish and spit out for crying out loud. Wouldn’t that have shook him up???”
Not really. He still did what God wanted him to do by going to Ninevah and delivering God’s message. (Jonah 3:3-4) But, in no way was his heart softened. (Jonah 4) He was still selfish and mostly concerned with just doing what God told him to do.
It got me thinking, our desire and prayer shouldn’t only be that God will work though us in our obedience, but that God will also work IN us.
Not to bring the brimstone out, but even the demons know who Jesus is. (James 2:19) Even they obey when commanded in His name. (Acts 16:18)
Showing up and doing what God wants us to is what’s right to do. But we miss out on so much when we don’t allow Him to work inside of us at the same time.
What is God calling you to do that you’re just showing up to? Are you asking Him (or allowing Him) to work in your life through that obedience? Through the experience in which you find yourself?
If the answer is NO, I encourage you to ask Him to work IN you, not just through you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like Jonah, a person who just obeys with no heart change, a person who people remember as “not really getting it.” That isn’t the impact I want my life to have. What about you?
Until next time,
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