So, I’ve finally reached 21, and what a time it’s been! Doesn’t really seem like much of a special age, but it’s such an important milestone, a rite of passage even for most.
This is the time in a lot of our lives when we start to question what lies on the road ahead in our journeys, I have friends graduating, others starting masters, and here I am asking what is next for me.
In my last blog post I talked about how I’ve finally been accepted onto a YWAM Discipleship Training School in Los Angeles, California. For me, that’s where I believe that God is taking me next, but what about until then? What about following that, where do I see my life in a years time? Or even 5 years time?
Last Sunday the Vicar of my home Church, Andy Rimmer, announced that he felt that God had been telling them to move onto a different church and lead there instead. As much of a shock to lots of us as it was, God can call us to places we don’t know and when we least expect it and the more we thought and prayed about it, the more we knew that it was right.
As with Eli who was ready and eager to hear from the Lord right from the beginning in 1 Samuel chapter 3, where he eagerly says to the Lord “Speak, for your servant is listening”. In the same way, we should be preparing ourselves for where God will take us next, or who he will put on our hearts. It could be simply by praying and waiting on the Lord listening to what he tells us, or sometimes it’s more of just a gentle nudge every now and again in the right direction.
Jesus has given us the right path, he’s shown us how we should be seeking to live our lives in honour of him, but are we actively living it out? Are we seeking to glorify God in every area of our lives, living for him and being obedient to his commands, whatever the price?
I’ve been given so many options and opportunities recently for my future, from graduate schemes and masters courses, to internships and full-time jobs, but being obedient to him means saying all the while to him, “Speak, for your servant is listening”.
One simple but powerful verse that keeps coming back to me time and time again is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” and “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”.
Similarly Psalm 119:1-8 says, “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart – They do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.”
Not only must we be reading and hearing what God wants to say to us, but we must be willing to take in and act, obey what he commands of us. In the same way James 1:22-25 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in the mirror and, after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”
Sometimes it’s quite hard to understand what it actually means to obey, and how we can possibly attempt to allow God to have complete obedience over our lives. One of the Greek terms for obedience conveys this idea of ‘positioning oneself under someone by submitting to their authority and command’ and for me, this is a beautiful picture of how we should be lowering ourselves in submission to the father as an act of complete obedience to him. Similarly, another Greek word for obey used in the New Testament is also translated as “to trust”, in our obedience to the father, we must be willing to trust that what he has in store for us, really is good, plans to prosper us and not to harm us but to give us a hope and a future.
Jesus was the ultimate example and model of obedience for us in the way he lived his life, by his obedience to the father and his incredible love for us in dying for us on the cross.
Though this gift of salvation is free and unmerited, our response to what Christ has done for us should be worship, and worship through our obedience and love for him. By offering our lives to him in everything we do, and living as he commands by what we read and hear from him, we will know what his purpose is for each of us, we will know what lies on the road ahead.
“Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not confirm to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:1-2