“I don’t want to,” you might confess.
“No?” I’d ask if we were out on a walk together.
“No. I know I should, but I just don’t want to obey God in this.”
And if we were actually on a walk together, you could probably continue by alluding to some specific commands and situations.
And so would I.
I get it. Especially as I worked on writing this post, I became painfully aware of how often I don’t want to do things that I know God has called me to. How often my flesh and worldly desires pull me away. And also, I thought of times when my heart felt so shattered, I think I was afraid to obey God because I was afraid to feel more pain.
While obedience to the Lord is essential to our walk with him, I think we sometimes forget how tender he is, how much he cares for our hearts. Whatever the reason for our resistance, we can draw near to the Lord. He died so we could call him dad. He came so he could bring us back into relationship with him. He tore the curtain so his presence might be accessible.
He promises us that obedience will be rewarded. And he is so generous to let us see the fruit of that at times. And other times, we see his patience in waiting to reveal the goodness. And still other times, we experience his care as he sits with us, weeps while we weep, and holds our hand while he grieves with us the depths of the path we never expected to walk through.
Whether we are discouraged by how hard following Christ is, exhausted from our inability to do the things we know we are called to, or feel stuck simply for our lack of desire, the remedy is always the Gospel.
We struggle, but Jesus never had to be convinced or matured into obedience. Even in the garden the night before his crucifixion, he cried out asking if there was another way. Another route. But if not, the Father’s will be done, because it was never an option to not rescue his people.
Jesus wanted to redeem you. You were the joy before him. You were the one he thought of when he prayed, and you were the one he thought of when he hung on that cross.
Jesus knew it would be worth it, because he knew he would get you.
He loves you.
Ask him to change your heart, to cause you to walk in his statutes. And praise him! Praise his glorious name for already completing what you don’t even want to do and giving you credit for it anyways. Even back in the Old Testament we see the entire nation of Israel not want to continue towards the promised land. Again and again they wanted to go back to Egypt. But just as Moses interceded for them, Jesus intercedes for us.
Delight in his generosity. Marvel at his glory. And an hour later when you find yourself wrestling with the same thing, do it all over again.
And finally, let us continually be encouraged to cooperate with the Lord. He is always working, and we will never regret obeying him. Trust his goodness. Trust his timing. He is able to shape our hearts and position us to obey him in ways that we could never manufacture on our own.
Whether it’s a big season of wrestling with something God has called us to, or a brief moment to participate in an opportunity God puts on our heart, we all struggle. We all say no when we should say yes. We all desperately need a savior. And we all have one. Who came for all people. So all who believe might be saved. Not just to one day make it to Heaven, but also to new life now. To a new spirit now. To a right relationship with the Lord our Maker – now. He is already available to us.
By now if we were still on that walk, we might feel encouraged, we might feel guilty about still not wanting to do that thing, or we may feel stubborn against it. But both of us would end our walk with an invitation to conversation with someone else. With an invitation from our Lord, our perfect Father and most compassionate friend. Let’s head there now. He can’t wait to hear from us.
… casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you – 1 Peter 5:7
Pray without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
And he said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father…’” – Luke 11:2
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. – Luke 23:45b
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. – Ezekiel 36:25-27
Read: Hebrews 12:1-11. Read it in both the Message and in another translation like ESV or NIV. Talk to God about it. Talk to another believer about it.
Sing: King of my heart