Several months ago my wife and I began discussing her traveling overseas to participate in a short-term missions trip with our church. Through some existing friendships and a trip I’d taken several years back – we were looking at her going to Myanmar for about 10 days.
After a lot of prayer, discussion and meetings with the team – she determined it was not the right time for her to go. Instead, she encouraged me to make the trip. I guess my response was typical. I hemmed and hawed a bit (whatever that is). I got excited. I thought about all the reasons it wouldn’t work. I worried about money. Then finally I began to pray. Suddenly I had a golden opportunity in front of me – the opportunity to be obedient.
This wasn’t about the need for people to take short-term mission trips (although everyone should…more than once!). It’s not about everything God did on our trip (stay tuned here as God did a lot). It’s not about the stories of what God has been doing in the area we’re working (literally whole villages coming to Christ). It’s not even about all that I learned personally about myself, God, ministry and what true discipleship looks like (you’ll get plenty of that too).
It is simply about obedience.
Here’s the thing about obedience. You can’t obey if you don’t know…
…know how to listen to God.
…know what God is asking of you.
I must know God. To know God I must spend time with Him. I must have an intimate relationship which requires time, obedience, passion, commitment and more!
It is really simple. As I walk and talk with the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit I am able to listen and obey. These simple responses allow the power that created the universe to transform me from the inside out.
Oh, that I would pray more. Oh, that I would submit myself to God more. Oh, that I would give up anything to be obedient. Oh, that I would have faith. Oh, that I would see God work deeply rather than quickly. Oh, that I would have Jesus.
As I spent time with many church leaders on my trip – I was struck at how simple it was for them. We spent little to no time discussing programs or strategies or what wasn’t happening or the difficulties in making disciples. We spoke often of how our faith was growing and being stretched by the Lord. Much time was given to celebrating in simple conversation God’s Word and His work.
When it came to the problems in the world (and they have many) we simply focused on praying for people to come to know Christ and for the leaders to disciple them and spur them on as they grow in their faith.
I hope and pray all the luxuries and complexities of my everyday life won’t drown out the simple walk of faith with a loving Savior who empowers me to share that love with others. For too long, I’ve been OK with the excuses and distractions of life. I pray that as I abide deeply in God, my obedience will allow the Holy Spirit to use me as He sees fit.