“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
Have you been in that place where you heard God tell you to do something and knew it would hurt? Not a small, forget-about- it-tomorrow kind of hurt, but the die-to-self, life-altering kind? Mine happened about seven years ago. I was a 33-year-old woman in love for the first time in my life. Was this finally it? It seemed all of these years of waiting on the Lord would be worth it, and I would finally have a husband and start a family of my own.
God said no, and following God in obedience was going to hurt. Yes, I could have made excuses as to why I should have stayed in that relationship or put it off longer to try to change the circumstances so God would say yes. But God wasn’t looking for a delayed response. He wanted my all-in, fully-committed-to-Him obedience. Satan wanted nothing more than for me to hold on longer, to suppress what I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me. Because Satan wants me out of God’s will, focused on myself and not Christ. As a child of God, he can’t touch my soul, but he wants to leave me ineffective for the kingdom.
God was calling me to follow Him and not my desires. He reminded me in Joshua chapter 1 to be strong and courageous. But I was scared. I had finally found someone, and God told me to walk away and be alone again. Not only ending a relationship with someone I loved but possibly ending my dream of having a family of my own.
But there it was in verse 9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I knew what He was asking me to do. And just as God told Joshua to walk forward in obedience and that He would be with him, He tells us to walk forward in obedience as well, and He promises that He will be with us every step of the way.
Yes, heartache may follow after saying yes to God. He calls us to deny ourselves and take our cross to follow Him. We are supposed to seek Him first. God does not guarantee an easy, every-day-is-sunshine life when we choose to follow Him. He warns that we will be hated and persecuted and have trouble
in this life. But He also promises that IT WILL BE WORTH IT! Choosing to walk away from God, to do things our way, will inevitably lead to our destruction. Satan desires to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly. These are the truths we can trust. However, Satan rarely approaches with a sword drawn. No, he comes in disguise as the fulfillment of our childhood dream, as that one thing, relationship, or desire we can’t give up. He tricks us into believing that “God would want me to have this,” that “there is no way God would not want to give me the desires of my heart,” or “that it’s just too big of an ask; it can’t be God.” He tricks us into placing our eyes on ourselves and not on Christ.
Is God asking you to do something hard? Is there something you need to walk away from, to stop doing, to say no to? Or is He telling you to step forward in faith, to start doing something, to begin serving in a way you have not served before? Or is He asking you to make a personal sacrifice that seems too big of an ask? Don’t hesitate in your obedience to Him. When you know He has spoken, take that step forward in obedience. I can’t promise it won’t hurt, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is worth it! He DOES work all things for our good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Hesitation to be obedient allows Satan to attack. The next time you hear God calling you to follow Him in obedience, don’t delay. Right now is the time to take that first step toward Christ. NOW is the time to win the battle—the victory is already yours in Christ Jesus.
Questions for Thought
1. Is God asking you to do something hard?
2 . Are you ready to be obedient today, or what is making you hesitate in your obedience to God?
I encourage you to get into a daily habit of ending your prayers to God with “I trust you.” Say it until you mean it. Obeying God when you know it will hurt has to start with trusting God. Tell Him your heart, but then trust Him with your heart.
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While a member of First Baptist Dallas, the Lord called Jill out of the corporate world and onto the staff of First Dallas. She believes every day is a gift and an honor to serve the Lord and support the ministry here at First Dallas. When she is not on the campus of First Dallas, you will find her at home with her dog, Trixie, with her family, enjoying the fun duties of aunt life, or out two-step dancing with her fiancé, John.