Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
- Matthew 16:24-26
Obedience can be an intimidating word. Depending on our upbringing and other influences from our early life, it may invoke different emotions. For some, it conjures up unpleasant thoughts of harsh, seemingly pointless regimens of rules and regulations that are unfair instead of life-giving and fulfilling. For others, it seems like its lacking intimacy and relationship, more of a never-good- enough attempt at measuring up. For some of us, the word itself feels like a threat to our innate desire for independence.
But each bit of instruction God gives is born out of the tenderness of His heart toward us and His desire to steer us toward His best for our lives. Obedience is not a no, it is actually His best yes. It swims in oceans of grace and leads us to freedom, wholeness, and health. It opens us up to His unbridled blessing and abundance.
As a young person I was like most others, never wanting to listen to my elders or anyone in leadership but I did it anyway. I was brought up my mom to be respectful and kind-hearted. Listen to adults and don't talk back. We were raised in a Church of The Nazarene and I never really had any idea what it took to please God. No one really talked liked that. But I did know what it took to please momma. As a teenager I became very rebellious and didn’t want to follow her rules anymore, which led me down a road to destruction. I was just out to please my flesh, not really knowing the after affects.
It wasn't until I started taking my own children to church when I was about 30 years old that I started living my life for the Lord, so I thought. little did I know I still had a lot to learn.
He gives srength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
- Isaiah 40:29-31
I started living for God in my early 30's. I was Baptist at the time so I had never been introduced to the infilling of The Holy Ghost or the importance of being baptized in Jesus’ Name. I still had so much to learn, but you just don’t know what you don’t know. Profound statement, isn’t it?
After becoming rooted in the Baptist church for about 5 years my family and I moved from NC to KY. My youngest son was only a year old. It seems like forever ago now. My oldest son had been introduced to this thing called Pentecost in 2004 and it had peaked my interest after seeing the change in his life.
A couple months after we moved to KY God worked in a miraculous way and my sister and I found this absolutely amazing church in a little town called Eminence, EUPC!
13 years later here we are. I’ve never been happier or more content with life. God is Great and greatly to be praised! I’ve had many ups and downs these 13 years but I would not change any of it. I know it got me where my family and I are today. So take it from me, He does work in mysterious ways and this life with Jesus is worth everything it took to get me here!
These are the promises of Jesus:
“Fair one, I come for you. I come for you again. I do not tire of being close to you. I do not tire of leaning in, listening to your words, your cries, your pleas, your songs. I strengthen you. I equip you. I restore you. I surround you with hope. I bring people around you to show you hope.”
You have a story all your own, with ups and downs and things you regret, things you’ve done you wish you could change. There is hope in everything, in every moment, in every past, in every future. The hope for the future exists in Jesus. Put your trust in Him today and you will not be disappointed!