By Valerie McIntyre/Donati
Obedience. It isn’t a word that normally conjures up a warm, happy feeling. When I hear the word I think: “prison.” Excellent. Now I have to do something that I probably don’t want to do. Not a lot of attraction in that word. But, in the past few months, as I grapple with the challenges of basically doing 2 ½ jobs, I had a revelation about obedience that helped me see the word in a better light. You see, I know that what I really need is FAITH. I need faith to believe that as I “step out” in business and church life God will both go before me and pave a way for my endeavors, plus provide a cleanup crew behind me when I make mistakes (as you do). It’s wonderful to have a husband, a partner. But Simon can’t save me, or my business. And, I’m not in favor of saying: “I have faith for this to work, let me sit back and watch God do it.” Even Paul had a profession, and he encouraged others to have one too.
So, I need faith, because I can’t do this alone, and if God doesn’t help me, ultimately I’m on my own. No matter how “good” I am, I’m not good enough to make things work the way that I want them to. I need help. Faith. I need it. But here’s the kicker. Isn’t it the way, that when you NEED faith the most, it seems so hard to find? I can walk around all day long, know what I need, cry out for it from the bottom of my heart and still feel wanting. I know this faith business is not about a feeling, but feelings can help you make it through some days. This is where obedience has become a light in challenging times for me. Obedience is the “easiest” hard thing you may do, but it can set you free. Obedience will position you for success. If you can’t find the faith you need, you can be obedient. Stepping into obedience is an action that produces fruit. Not some of the time—ALL of the time.
There were two things that characterized the life of Jesus: love and obedience. He was obedient to love and for love. He loved so much that he was obedient to death. Sure, he knew he would rise again, but he did ask his father to take it away, if possible. When the answer came back “no” he went through with it. He was obedient and his obedience changed the world. In my life the biggest, most lasting, most productive changes have come through acts of obedience. Celibacy, tithing, truthfulness. None of the things come naturally or are any fun, but my life has pivoted positively on the decision to be obedient. When I don’t have it in me to bring up faith I know I can go to a place of obedience and trust that God will show up and take care of things. My circumstances may not always reflect what I think I need or want, and the timing may be all off (according to me) but I know I am in a safe space, a place where I can be blessed. Most importantly I am in a position to be used by God for his purposes. If there is a place in your life that you feel God is calling you to be obedient give it a try and watch him go to work.