We were walking to the bus this morning and one of our daughter’s friends asked her if she’d seen a special on TV last night. Emalynn said “No” and I told her that we don’t have television anymore. She just couldn’t imagine why. I tried to explain to her that TV isn’t important to us and we spend our spare time learing about God together. She looked at me like I was nuts. I could see her mind reeling as if she was thinking to herself “That would suck!” It was pretty cute actually. Obedience sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense to others, does it.
That little song keeps popping back into my head over and over from when I was a little girl.
Obedience is…the very best way…to show that you believe…
But it’s more than just following a list of rules. Obedience looks different for everyone. God places different things on each of our hearts because we all struggle with something…things we need to give up…things we need to do less of…things we place more importance on than Himself in our lives. Sometimes when we’re obedient…we look crazy from the world’s perspective. Sometimes we endure ridicule because of it…even from other Christians. For me…that’s the hardest to endure. Those you would think would certainly understand seem to turn on you…belittle what God Himself has told you to do…but aren’t we all supposed to stick together as a unified body of believers?
I was comforted this afternoon by reading this verse in Matthew 5:11…”Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. ” I have been the receiver of all kinds of ridicule, insult and false things said against me because of following what God has told me to do. Granted I don’t live in a country where I am imprisoned or physically beaten or worse because of my faith to which I am SO thankful and need to commit to pray for my brothers and sisters who are…and while it pales in comparison to what they go through I suffer every single day for no one else but the Lord. Compared to what He did for me it’s not really that big of a deal and He has promised not to give me…or any of us for that matter…more than what we can bear with His strength. God told me not to take drugs for my terrible pain but instead to depend on Him for strength each day because He has a purpose…and to many people…that simply makes me stupid. The insult added to injury so to speak has been very tough for me to take at times. I’ve tried to do things the way of the world and came very close to self-destruction. God graciously pulled me out of that and now I live every second of everyday in pain…but obediently not relying on anything other than Him. Even though it is so very difficult believe it or not…I am continually blessed for it. I am blessed with patience, perseverance, trust and wisdom…far greater than if this had never happened to me…and if that makes me stupid in the eyes of others…so be it.
I firmly believe that Jesus said those words for every believer. After all…if we each face no persecution…whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual…are we being obedient enough? If we don’t step out for Christ and put ourselves out there…how are we set apart…or any different? To be honest even a year ago if I looked at my life today I would not have believed what I see. I probably would’ve ridiculed myself! No new shoes…no TV…telling people about my struggles and how God works through them? No way…that’s just too radical…too out there…too personal! My life an open book on the internet!? Dream on! But that’s the brilliance of how God works. I’ve decided to take delight in the pain, the insults, the ridicule and even the false things spoken against me. It means I’m stepping out in faith and being obedient to Christ. I don’t care if I look crazy…I don’t care if people look at me like I’m nuts…I don’t care if people think my life must suck. It’s quite the opposite and it’s my responsibility to communicate to everyone that our gracious and merciful God is always good…no matter what my circumstances. Obedience is the very best way to show that I believe. I need to care about what God thinks…He’s the only One I need to impress.