There have been many times in my life where I really struggled to obey God. I would know deep within my heart that He was asking me to give something up that I wanted to hold on to or do something I didn’t want to do. Many times we become addicted to various toxic behaviors and sometimes even toxic people. Those same behaviors and people may not be toxic for others, but time has made it clear that they are toxic for us.
Here is the thing, God never asks us to do something that is not for our ultimate good. His heart for us is that we find true freedom, contentment, joy, and fulfillment in our lives. Often times obeying Him means temporary pain of some sort, but leads to a great life. Choosing not to obey Him often means temporary satisfaction and peace, but leads to a future of discontentment and sometimes even devastation. It is imperative that we choose life even when every fiber of our being wants to do it our own way!
When I am struggling to obey God, here is what I do:
- Consider the Cost: I ask myself what I could possibly be sacrificing in my future for immediate satisfaction. In my head, I go though the best possible outcomes and the worst possible outcomes.
- Consider God’s Intentions: I ask myself why God cares. Does he truly want what is best for me? If he is asking me to do (or not do) something, why? I determine if it is possible He is looking out for my best interest as any good father would.
- Pray: I ask God to give me the right heart. I ask Him to change me from the inside out. I ask Him to motivate me to choose what is right for my life despite the initial pain and sacrifice. I ask God to give me a greater reason to obey Him; something bigger than myself. I ask Him to heal me of my brokenness that makes me want something that is wrong for me.
- Read His Word: I google Scripture on God’s goodness, future plans for me, and search for biblical reasons as to why I can trust Him.
- Ask for Accountability: I rely on friends who know Jesus to help me. I am honest with someone who will encourage me to obey God (in a non-harsh and patient way).
- Set Timelines: When I am really struggling to let something go that I want (or feel I need) and know is wrong for me, I make a goal to let it go by a certain date. In the mean-time, I prepare my mind through all that I mentioned above.
- Persevere: I don’t give up on obeying God when I fall down. When I choose my own way, I get back up, dust the mess off me, and try again. I remember that His grace is sufficient for me and His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
Following God is not for the faint of heart. He requires all of us and He is relentless in His pursuit of our hearts. It is the area of our lives that we hold back from Him that He wants most. His plan for our future is too important for Him to just allow us do our own thing. He is as a parent who is invested in the future of His child and he will do whatever it takes to gain our complete and undivided attention. His love for us is unending and He cannot fathom allowing us to stay in any toxic situation.
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