Finding Fuel for Obedience
Sometimes, God calls us to do things that our outside of our comfort zones.
This, of course, was evident in Esther's life after Haman executed an unchangeable law in the name of King Xerxes calling for the annihilation of all the Jews in the Persian Empire (Esther 3:12-14). In response to such woeful news, Esther was asked by her older cousin, Mordecai, to "go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy" (Esther 4:8). As queen, she was in a unique position to step in and mediate on behalf of all her people. But going into the king's presence was no easy task.
Esther reminded Mordecai that approaching the king without being summoned was morbidly frightful. Unless the king extended his golden scepter as a sign of acceptance, she could be put to death (Esther 4:11). Then again, because of the edict, the threat of death was looming over her and all her people either way. Ultimately, she chose to risk her life for the sake of her people. "I will go to the king," she resolved, "And if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). It was a defining moment in her life, and God used it to bring about faithful commitment in her heart.
We might not face the threat of death in our Christian living today (At least, not in our own culture). But, like Esther, we're also sometimes hesitant to do what the Lord has called us to do. Callings like sharing the gospel (Philippians 1:14), making disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20), and serving our church (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:11-13) can be significantly outside of our comfort zones. Just thinking about sharing the gospel with a neighbor, for example, can raise our anxiety levels. But fear isn't our only struggle. Sometimes, commitment is. Being asked to consider volunteering in children's ministry or in an outreach event, for example, might cause us to look down in avoidance. "Just don't make eye contact during the announcements," we tell ourselves!
I'm reminded of the times I hesitated in my commitments to on-campus ministry. I was a part of a few Christian clubs in high schools in San Diego. Inevitably, there would be days that were loaded with things to do, and I would be tempted to skip out on a lunch-time club gathering here and there. Justifications abounded in my mind. But on the days I'd skip out, I was always left with a feeling of letting down the students who were hoping to see me there (Especially if they texted me letting me know they missed me).
For many reasons—fear, time, inconvenience, discomfort—our struggles with obedience to God's callings are very real.
It begs the question: In what ways, if any, are you currently hesitating to obey the Lord? Take a moment to prayerfully meditate on this question. Is the Holy Spirit reminding you of someone to call, encourage, forgive, or invite to church? Is the Holy Spirit reminding you of the gifts and abilities he's entrusted to you for the sake of serving your church and your community? Is the Holy Spirit reminding you of the importance of loving your spouse, children, and neighbors well? Or, perhaps, is the Holy Spirit simply calling you to recommit your life to the Lord? (As in the case of the prodigal son, I guarantee the Lord is lovingly waiting for you to return to him)
Whatever your answer to the question above, resolved obedience and faithfulness can start today. Just look to the the good news of Jesus to fuel your own obedience to the Lord. He went to the cross, unwaveringly, out of great love for you. He obeyed the Father's plan for your redemption, and, in his case, death wasn't just a possibility—it was a certainty. When we see the Lord's faithful resolve to redeem our souls, it fuels our own resolve to obey the Lord in all he calls us to—here in our own day, in our own cities, in our own communities, amid our own modern-day circumstances—"for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).
May we find in the gospel all the fuel we need for our own obedience today.
Looking to Jesus with you,