When you become a Christian, Jesus Christ is now your Lord. The Lordship of Christ and the prayer to receive Him are not empty words, something you can say and go about your days as if nothing has changed. A human lord makes you his subject, determines your comings and goings, your home, your job, and your pay. As his servant, your job is to wait on his every desire. What better Lord to submit to than Jesus Christ? Surrender your life and your decisions, along with all of your skills, time, energy and money, and even all of your current trouble, to His authority. He won’t demand it from you as an angry in-your-face basketball coach gearing you up for your biggest play. He will call like a whisper, and you will begin to hear it when you are quiet, still and recognize His great presence every day. In every waiting season, where it seems like you’re getting nowhere, stuck in a rut, losing hope, God wants to train you to be more like Him and to act out of obedience because you are beginning to fathom the great, wondrous love and the immeasurable mystery of being a new creation in Christ.
Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise becomes wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Well, there is no one wiser than Jesus. When we become distracted or delayed in meeting with Him throughout each day, we might as well consider ourselves in the company of fools. Yes, our friends and family are fools compared to Christ, and their wisdom can cause us suffering compared to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit within us. The people we love are rarely all excited and supportive to send us into a difficult season of life, however, God can teach us so much through the struggle that our human family would be quick to help us avoid. Let your daily seeking and surrendering to the Lord determine your course, not necessarily the advice of others.
Perhaps, like many Americans, you are more of a lone wolf when it comes to making decisions. Any and every opportunity is at your fingertips, you need only decide when and where and what. Buy a brand new car off a dealer’s lot? Sure, why not? Spend your evenings playing Fortnite? Well, yes, what better way to unwind? Pack up your belongings, sell your home and move cross country for a better-paying job? Well, that makes perfect sense, right? Try instead counting yourself as the biggest fool of all! Let God be your wisdom, let Christ be your strength, let the Holy Spirit be your guide. Don’t rely on your own wishes but instead let God show you the desires of His heart and allow them to become your own.
So how do we let God lead us in our decision-making? Sometimes He speaks very clearly, through a passage of Scripture, an answered prayer, or even a prophetic message from another person. More often than not, I’ve found myself just waiting for an answer. What to do then?
Psalm 25:4-5 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
I’ve heard it said we need only to wait on God, and He will work out our path. While that’s true, I think I interpreted the message of waiting as being free to sit around and do what pleases me until I feel a strong sense of “calling” from God.
Truthfully, He has already called us to several things we should always be obeying. This list is not exhaustive; the Bible is full of nuggets of treasure that speak to our lives today of how we can obey God in any situation that comes our way. However, this list does apply to all Christians.
When we become a Christ-follower, we represent a part of His LIVING BODY on earth. We each have a function that is equally important as the rest. By choosing not to stay actively involved with other groups of Christians, are we rejecting the body of Christ? Are we no longer His beautiful feet to the world when we walk away from the Church? Stay active, do your part with whatever you have to offer to ensure the healthy, living body of Jesus Christ. This starts with regularly showing up to a church service, small group, or prayer meeting near you. Look and listen for ways you can get involved. Ask how you can pray for others and tell them how they might pray for you. A great place to start is a small group or bible study group. For more benefits on why to join one, check out this article! Ask God to show you ways to grow closer in relationship with Christians, and how you might draw strength and wisdom through the ups and downs of doing everyday life with them. Being close to people, even Christians, can sometimes cause hurts and disappointments, but God wants us to work through those, not walk away. Keep your eyes on Him and keep showing up. No way to get a group near you? Stay in regular communication. Write notes of encouragement or call and ask how you can be praying or what you can send from afar to help strengthen other Christians who continue meeting together. If you are reading this, you have a job in the body of Christ.
Even in your deepest depression or biggest busy-ness, you have the ability to help people. Best of all, you don’t need to be called to ministry or missions to serve wherever you are, whatever you have. Acts of service are acts of God’s love, and by going and doing, we become His literal hands and feet. You don’t even have to like people; just tell them you want to help out because God loves them. He transforms not only the receiver of service but the giver as well; you will be blessed and transformed for the better through serving! Does your elderly neighbor need groceries? Does that single mom want a night off to herself? Is there any place in your community in need of volunteers? What about offering to clean your brother’s room or help your niece with her school project? Cook a meal for your parents? Living a Christian life is living a life of service to others, no matter what seasons of change you are going through. Offer your services to others, and even if they reject you or burn you, keep finding ways to demonstrate God’s love through service. Don’t expect anything in return, so that your reward is with the God of Heaven and not what people can repay.
You’ve probably heard, “You can’t out-give God.” In Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, he advises, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” I have heard some Christians justify their choice not to add to the offering plate based on this verse, saying they should wait until they feel cheerful about giving to decide to “pay the Church.” Give anyway, even if you’re not yet cheerful about parting with 10% or 20% or 99% of your income. Pray over each offering, asking God to help you become cheerful. Ask for Him to show you how He shows up through your gifts, freely given, to further His kingdom here on earth. My husband was new to Christianity when we were married. A tithe of his take-home pay seemed like hundreds of dollars too much. He was used to dropping $20 in the bucket on Sunday mornings, and feeling quite proud about that. I gave testimony to all the times I had just enough extra funds for that car repair or that water heater breaking and flooding my basement because I regularly gave at least 10% of my income. So finally, Justin decided to tithe for the first time. And that very week, we got a check for over $1100 back as his insurance company stated they had been overcharging him. The ways God gives back to us, out of our choice to be obedient in our giving, isn’t always in money. He gives according to our every need: food, shelter, strength, wisdom, energy, and peace. God takes care of me, and it’s all His money anyway, so how much am I choosing to keep for my own selfish gain?
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” Enough said, right? Believe this verse. Speak it out loud when you feel yourself being drawn the wrong way. Even if something seems fun or exciting at first, if it’s sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit entwined with your spirit inside you. The consequences will come, and the spiritual consequences of losing sight of what God wants for you, of feeling His presence and discerning His voice, are the worst, especially when you’re waiting to find out what He has next for your life. Further, it hurts your credibility as a believer to the lost people God has put in your path for you to lead to Him!! God promises a meaningful, purposeful life to each of us, and He has made us unique in our strengths and talents for that purpose, so don’t give into temptation. Instead, give anything you struggle with over to God, on your knees, in prayer, and out of that surrender let God kill the sinful desires, thoughts and worries that haunt you, by His supernatural power.
Thank God for what you have (or don’t have). It takes practice for most of us to have an attitude of gratefulness. In our fast-paced, drive-thru, credit card culture, we are surrounded by the pursuit of more, more, more and now, now, now. I myself have gotten caught up in the wanting of a newer house, car, job, or the yearning for instant best friends whenever I have moved to a new place. The truth is, life is meant for God to form us ever more into His image. The formation of the works He is doing in our lives takes time, and His timing is perfect. Be grateful for what He has given you, and be grateful even for what you don’t have. I may miss my full-time job, but I am grateful for the time I have with my kids. I may not have a fancy home, but thank you, Lord, that I am not struggling to make a mortgage payment each month. Thank you for my health and energy, that even when I feel tired, I can keep going and get a second wind. I can walk, I am learning to run, and I am blessed that my legs work to propel me on to better health. Don’t take for granted what you do have, because God in His great provision has protected what He has given you from the devil, who comes like a thief in the night to steal, kill, and destroy. At any point what is given may be taken away, and sometimes God allows such things to be taken in order to teach us something in the loss. The saying “It could always be worse,” is absolutely true, so in any situation, even at death’s door, you have reasons to be grateful. Be thankful to God for who He is, what He’s done, the future hope and blessing He has in store for us even in the most difficult of life’s circumstances. Waiting patiently on Him can sometimes feel tiresome, but be grateful for the time He is equipping you for the next season of His plan for you.
Whenever you’re not sure what decision God is leading you to, remember 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. The Message version is a clear reminder of the decision we can always make no matter what else we’re waiting on: “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives.”
Go forth as Christ’s representatives to the world around you, and tell everyone about what He has done for you and His great love for them. That is one decision you never need to wait on!!