Because of Men’s Souls

If you love Me, keep My commandments. – John 14:15

My personal life may be crowded with small, petty happenings, altogether insignificant. But if I obey Jesus Christ in the seemingly random circumstances of life, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God. Then, when I stand face to face with God, I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When God’s redemption brings a human soul to the point of obedience, it always produces. If I obey Jesus Christ, the redemption of God will flow through me to the lives of others, because behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I so need to believe these words today. I need to believe that loving Jesus most and obeying Him is worth it. It’s worth the suffering that comes along with it. It’s worth other people possibly thinking I’m irresponsible and unsuccessful. It’s worth saying no to things. It’s worth saying yes to things. It’s worth humiliation. It’s worth a little loneliness. And it’s worth uncertainty. Because men’s souls are at stake.

I’m not quite sure what obeying Him looks like for me. Sometimes I do, in the moment. But overall, with the direction of the life He’s given me, I mostly do not know. But then again, maybe only obedience in the little moments count. They pave the way for the “big decisions”.

I do know this: I want to see “the reality of the Almighty God”. Every day. I’ve seen that reality, and I hope to see it daily. I want to see thousands blessed one day, even if I don’t see that now.

Won’t that be exciting? When all the confusion and ambiguity is over and all of the times when we were wondering what in the world we were doing here or there or with these people or this person and why we had that strange conversation and why we never saw them again and what the point of all of it was.

We will see that many of them were touched by God through our simple words or actions. We will see that we either pointed them in the direction of Jesus – to life and true joy – or in the direction of the world – back to the wretchedness.

Be not discouraged, soul. You know not your influence.

That is the beauty of story.

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to obey

To obey is difficult. Obedience seemed to be the theme at church this morning. In my Sunday school class, we talked about the story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts. Philip heard the Lord say go toward the south. “And he rose and went.” (10:27a). He simply went. Later, “Go over and join this [the Ethiopian’s] chariot.” (10:29b). Simple as that. Philip obeyed, not knowing where he was going or what was supposed to happen. And he ended up sharing the love of Christ with someone who gladly received it.

A guest speaker in the worship service, a very prominent scholar, shared his testimony of converting from Islam to Christianity. I don’t remember exactly what part of his story he was referring to when he said this, but he said, “You cannot live joyfully without obeying the Lord.”

It’s true. There is often a lack of joy in my life, specifically in the area of vocation, because I don’t obey the Lord. What is so difficult for me about obeying Him is this: I don’t know for sure what He is telling me to do. I think I have some ideas, but what if I do the wrong thing? What if it’s my own will I’m following? I know I will end up where He wants me, because I believe He is sovereign. I pray He will help me recognize His will. He wants me to. He is for me.

In Philip’s case, he didn’t really throw a fit or have an anxiety party. He just went. I suppose I am more like Moses or Jeremiah, who threw up the “but’s”, but eventually obeyed. I’m glad the Bible is full of imperfect people.