Great Expectations

Proverbs 3:5-8 (the message)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!

Amplified:
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn {entirely} away from evil. It shall be health to your nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to your bones.

This past Wednesday night we had the great privilege of having Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church speak at our service.  It was so awesome!  (I highly recommend checking out his podcasts on iTunes!)  Anyway, one of his statements resonated me with me and today it lingers in my heart:

“Obedience determines our trajectory.”

Even now I pause in writing this post and ask God for His guidance.  My heart is so full on this subject.  Our God is slow to anger and abounds in love and compassion.  The Bible says so.  And even though at times I have secretly wondered why God chose to give us a free will (seems it would be easier to not have a choice sometimes), He did.  But sometimes we just don’t want to obey. We don’t want to hear what He has to say about our lives.  We really, really want our way.  Feel like we need our way.   I mean God loves us and He will work it all out and all that, right?  All things work for the good, right?

Well, God absolutely loves us no matter what.  And when we bring Him our mess He absolutely will work it for our good (in my experience this involves much character building! Not ice cream and lollipops!)  I cling to Jesus and His beauty for ashes, grace-drenched,  crazy love.  But this does not mean we don’t walk out the hardness of our choices…it means God walks with us and uses every bit of it to draw us closer, reveal Himself and strengthen us along the way.  In the end, we may know Jesus more intimately because the pain pushes us to Him, but this does not bring us a short-cut off the path we choose for ourselves.

I fully agree with Pastor Furtick’s assessment.  Obedience determines our trajectory in life.  It’s just that word, isn’t it?  I mean even writing it now I can feel the inward pull against it.  Our flesh does not want to obey God.  We want to eat what we want, drink what we want, watch what we want, buy what we want, date who we want, marry who we want, speak whatever words we want and listen to whatever and whoever we want.  Sometimes, though, there is another reason we don’t obey God.  I think Proverbs 3 spells it out and as I was driving Leah to preschool this morning I thought of my own disobedience and the trajectory of my life.  There have been times in my life I just didn’t trust God.

The Amplified version above is powerful to me.  Lean on Him.  Trust Him.  Be confident in Him.  Do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  Maybe you have come to a crossroads in your life as you read this post or perhaps it’s the seemingly insignificant choices you make in everyday life and as far as you can see your way is fine.  But see our understanding and insight is quite insignificant when it comes to obedience.  We don’t know what God knows.  We can’t see what God sees.  This is how I know sometimes obedience is a matter of trust.  If I trust God, if I am confident of the good plans Jesus has for me, then when He pulls my heart away from the course I am charting I can (even begrudgingly) let go of my way.  Even if it hurts my heart or my pride, even if I think it might crush me, I can choose to acknowledge His way once I know it.  When I recognize what Jesus has to say about my life, I am in those very moments setting the trajectory for my future…that afternoon, the next week or the rest of my life.  If deep inside I don’t truly trust Jesus enough to let Him call the shots, I only need to dig in and know Him more.  I share as a student of obedience, not an expert.  Believe me.

It’s unlikely we will trust someone we don’t know.  And yet as Christians we quote verses and send each other emails about trusting God and His good plans when deep inside we just aren’t as convinced as we pretend to be.  Yikes!  Except I have been there!  I thought I trusted God because I was a Christian.  I grew up in church.  I mean I was a clapping, shouting, hand-lifting sort after all!  Smile.  I was absolutely saved but beneath the exterior of my Christian awesomeness (wink), I felt unworthy.  I felt unsure.  I was longing but didn’t really, truly believe God had good plans and would meet my needs.  So at a certain point I refused to recognize and acknowledge His leading.  And another trajectory was set.

Sometimes we don’t obey because we just plain don’t want to.  Sometimes our hearts are hardened toward the Lord and we really just don’t care.  But sometimes we won’t obey because we are afraid not to take care of ourselves.  Sometimes we have been hurt or let down so many times we just can’t let an invisible God lead us.  I mean wouldn’t that be the greatest let down of all?  But I write to you today to share that our invisible God is the most real and lasting and solid of all.  But we must find this for ourselves.  Maybe sitting at a kitchen table or on our knees beside our bed.  Driving in our car or riding a bus.  Walking around the block or rocking a baby at 2am.  At carpool lane or at a desk in an office.  After class or after dinner.  Before breakfast or before we turn out the lights.  Any time.  Any place.  The Bible says nothing can separate us from His love.  It also says there is no place we can go and He is not there.  Know Him.  Know Him.  Know Him.  Let Him whisper to your heart of the good plans He has for your life and know Jesus so well, for yourself, that you believe Him.

Let Jesus set the trajectory for your life through your trusting obedience.  Health to your nerves…marrow to your bones.  And if you, like me, set a trajectory in disobedience take heart.  Our Jesus loves a comeback story!  When we trust His goodness and learn to fully accept His boundless love for us, we can take to Him our hopes, dreams and regrets with great expectations for what He yet will do in us and for us.

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