Obeying God When It’s hard

Sometimes it’s easy to follow God. But other times His leading may be unclear or hard to obey because it doesn’t seem to make sense to us. Obeying God can be difficult.

I was always an obedient child. It wasn’t because I was GOOD. My obedience grew from another source, a desire to please. Yep, I’m a people- pleaser.

My teachers loved me. My parents rarely had to punish me; however I do remember that one time when I was 14 when my dad let me know how self-absorbed I’d become. It wasn’t pretty. I think I’d rather have had a physical whack than the tongue lashing that ensued.

I deserved it. Yet I admit his rebuke worked more as a challenge to prove him wrong. I helped my mom more and intentionally looked people in the eyes when I spoke to them. That harsh reprimand worked. But that’s not what this post is about.

It’s about obeying God.

I’ve always thought of myself as a “good girl” in this department too. But as I sat down today to write this post, I did what I always do. I prayed, “Lord, what do you want me to share this week? Can I use an old post?”

I scrolled through posts recently viewed and there it was . . . a post on obedience. “Not that one, Lord!” (I confess.) But He loves us so much. And I felt a gentle tug in my spirit that said, “Yes.”

Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

I began to copy the old words to put into this new post and God said, “No. Write what’s on your heart. Share what you’re struggling with.”

That’s the thing about learning with God. I seem to learn the same lessons over and over. Anybody else? Today I find myself in the same heart predicament as years ago. At that time, God was nudging me to quit a job that involved helping an elderly neighbor. Here’s a portion of that post:

It was the one small paying job on my daily eclectic list of things to do. It only took an hour or so of my day, but I felt a pressing in my spirit. I knew I had to quit, but I’m no quitter! It was a hard decision because it involved helping someone in need, yet I knew I had to quit that job out of obedience to God.
It’s hard to put obedience and sacrifice in perspective. As Christians, we often hold the mind-set that we must sacrifice to please God. Doesn’t God want me to sacrifice my time and talents for others in need?
It depends.

How to Let Go When God Tells You To: The Blessing of Obedience May 2016

Scripture Can Help Us Discern Obedience

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? How can we discern if it’s our wills or God’s? And how do we do the right thing–what seems to be God’s leading but seems so wrong. This scripture helped me decide:

I’m so glad we don’t have to sacrifice rams these days, aren’t you? Jesus took away the need for that system when He died as our final sacrifice, but don’t we still struggle with the feeling we need to sacrifice for God?

The answer is: we only need to sacrifice if HE tells us to. This requires talking with Him, walking with Him, surrendering to Jesus, and poring into the love letter of life instruction called the Bible.

If you find yourself a little restless these days. You feel God stirring something inside. First, do not move. Do not change anything until you know for certain His lead. If it makes sense, it’s probably not God. I’ve lived long enough and read too many stories in the Bible to know that God doesn’t think like we think. After all, His perspective is much greater than ours.

Do we trust Him?

bible open

Obeying God When He Says Go [Bite of Bread]

This week’s Bible reading plan is about obedience, listening, waiting, and trusting. I have a feeling I’m not the only one feeling a nudge from God we’d rather not obey. I pray this week’s time with Him in these scriptures will make the path clearer or at least the assurance stronger that you are discerning correctly God’s direction.

Monday: Isaiah 31:21

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Prompt: Have you ever had someone behind you telling you which way to turn rather than leading you? What do you have to do if you can’t see them? You have to be quiet. Intentionally make quiet places this week. Turn off the radio as you drive. Don’t turn on the TV the minute you get home and spend time in the morning and evening in silence if possible—when everyone is asleep. Keep a journal handy and write down what you hear. Don’t pray. Just listen.

Tuesday: 1 Samuel 15:22

Help to Obey God’s Direction

Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Prompt: Are you sacrificing anything that you know God has not asked you to sacrifice? Write down a prayer asking for eyes to see and a heart to respond to God’s direction. Pray for grace to obey.

Wednesday: Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Prompt: “Straight paths” does not mean easy paths. It means “peace with God.” What have you been trying to understand or figure out? What do you need to surrender to Him today? When you do, you will experience His peace.

Thursday: 1 Peter 5: 6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Prompt: Humility. Write down all that you are worried about. If you feel God is prompting you to “sacrifice” something to obey Him, write down all your concerns. The close your journal and say, “He cares for me.”

Friday: Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Prompt: Faith means trust. Pray for greater trust in God’s leading. Not trust that He will make everything wonderful and easy, but trust that He’s working it all out for good. Trust that He is good.

Don’t forget the free printable!

People Pleasing Versus God Pleasing

This is the bottom line. As a confessed people-pleaser, I will tell you I know this is one reason why it’s so hard to let go when God tells me to. I don’t want to hurt anyone. My friends, please remember to measure everything you think you are hearing from God with His Word.

But when you know beyond knowing God has instructed you to let go, do.

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See you Wednesday!

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