How Obedience Leads to Growth
A few months before the end of 2016, no, let me take that back. In the beginning of 2016, God told me to “simplify”. I had a lot of things going on in my life (don’t we all?), and I knew nothing other than living a life of “busy”. As someone who likes to get things done and move forward in life, I always found a way to fill my schedule up with things.
“Simplify” was the word I heard Him speak all year.
I’m going to be brutally honest with you and share that I didn’t listen until a few months before the end of 2016. I put it off, telling myself that I had time for everything.
The truth was that even though it did have to do with my time, it wasn’t just about my time. It was about my obedience. It reminds me a lot of the story of the Israelites and the promised land. Because of their unwillingness to listen, to be obedient, they went in circles over and over again.
“But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to demonstrate my holiness to the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land I am giving them!” This place was known as the waters of Meribah (which means “arguing”) because there the people of Israel argued with the Lord, and there he demonstrated his holiness among them.” [Numbers 20:12, NLT]
Moses’ lack of trust (or obedience) made it so that they could not enter the promised land the Lord had for them.
Then, when I decided to be obedient, it was like Joshua and the wall of Jericho. As much as I didn’t want to do what God was telling me to, and it didn't make sense, it led me to the place and the victory God had for me.
“But the Lord said to Joshua, ‘I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.’” [Joshua 6:2-5, NLT]
“When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly, the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it.” [Joshua 6:20, NLT]
Obedience to God opens the doors to His promises and His blessings.
So I finally decided to be obedient. I sat down at my desk with a notebook and a pencil, and I began to make two lists. On the left hand side, I wrote down all of the things I was currently doing. And then I slowly started making my way down the list and crossing out the things I knew He was telling me to let go. On the right hand side, I made another column and wrote down only the things He was telling me to do in this season. The list shrunk and I found myself with only about 1/3 of the things on the original list. After that moment I started to cut out all of the things I had crossed off and only focus on the things I was supposed to be doing.
Things changed. Doors started to open, blessings started coming, and peace and joy filled my heart. I went from a stressful year to a fulfilling one.
I am writing this to you today because I wonder how many of you might find yourself in the same boat I did in the beginning of 2016. I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did. I don’t want you to make the same mistake Moses did. I want to encourage you to take the jump, much sooner than I did, and to be obedient to what God is telling your heart at the beginning of this year.
Is He calling you to cross something or some things off your list?
He is asking you to add something to your list you know you should be doing but are too afraid to do?
Whatever the case may be, we each know what God has spoken to our heart, and we need to do it. Our fears or concerns shouldn’t be our guide, our faith in God should be our guide. We know that He is a good and faithful Father, and that He only has good plans in store for us.
Allow yourself to move into all that God is calling you to, go to that next level with Him, experience the fullness of what He has for you by being obedient to Him.