Obedience and Submission

What if I don’t feel like it?

Obedience and submission are hallmarks of the Christian life. As we journey, we gradually learn to release control, to let go of the wheel. The journey gets rocky, full of conflicting emotions, but I am learning that the “feeling” is not what’s most important–submission is. Meaning that our emotions don’t always have to support us, and we don’t have to wait until our emotions are in agreement to walk in obedience. 

The feeling is not what’s most important–submission is”

I often pray, “Lord, I want to do your will, but help me to want to do it.” Sounds crazy, right? I know. Let me explain. I want to do his will. I want to please him by fulfilling all I’m called to do and be. But submission is hard and sometimes I really just want to do what I want to do, just to be honest. So sometimes when I’m praying for his will to be done in my life, in a corner of my heart, I still want my will to be done in my life. I want to submit, but my emotions aren’t there yet. Anyone else, or just me?

“Submission is hard and sometimes I really just want to do what I want to do”

So here’s the thing. We don’t have to be afraid of our feelings. We can be honest with him about how we feel and he will continue to transform our emotions and make our desires line up with his will. Philippians 2:13 NLT says this, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” I so love that verse. It’s a reminder that everything doesn’t rely on us. He is the one that gives us not only the strength to do what pleases him, but even the desire to want to please him in the first place. Ain’t God alright?

And then there’s Psalm 37:4 NLT which says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” When he is our delight, he will give our hearts what he wants them to desire, and then he’ll grant us those desires. Really though, ain’t God alright???

All this to say, don’t wait to obey until you feel ready to obey. And don’t be discouraged if your feelings don’t always back you when you’re trying to do God’s will.  

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. There two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

Galatians 5:16-18 NLT

The fight against our feelings is normal. Everyone experiences it to some degree. But God is patient in our struggle. We don’t walk by our feelings anyway, we walk by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Stay focused on Jesus. Just give him a “yes.” He’ll make everything work together for your good. Obedience is worth it! There is a blessing attached to obedience. There is safety attached to obedience. There is peace of mind attached to obedience.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord- all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!

Psalm 128:1 NLT

Relinquish control to the One who has written each of your days down in his book. He fashioned you for a purpose and He knows what He’s doing. Let go and let God be God, your feelings will catch up.

Obedience and Submission

He cares about the small things

So here’s what I’m learning–It’s not always imperative to know God’s plan in full.

That may sound obvious, or even humorous, because how could we ever actually know his plan in full? We can’t. And I know that in my heart. But I like for things to be in control, in MY control. But God never promised to tell me everything. Then I would just rest in my knowledge of the future. Nope. Submission requires relinquishing control. He will often show me one step or even a far off goal, but the plan for how to get there isn’t fully visible. That’s where faith comes in. That’s where obedience comes in. Proverbs 3:6 (NLT) says this, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

It was one of those chills, hair standing on the back of your arm moments. I was dealing with a lot of uncertainty and I had been praying, “Show me your will, Lord! What do you want me to do? Please, don’t let me miss it!” As I was sitting in church during the message, the pastor (my dad) pretty much said exactly what I’d been saying to God in my prayers. “You’re asking God to use you and God says, ‘What do you think I’ve been doing?’” He went on to expound on the value of the daily occurrences, things we may deem as mundane and insignificant. *Pause* Has that ever happened to you? God sent someone with an answer to a question you hadn’t even asked yet? Whoa.

But anyway. That message opened my eyes. Each small act of kindness that the Holy Spirit empowers me to do, every time I read my bible, each time I seek his will and submit to him, each decision he helps me make, and each door he closes or opens, that’s all part of him using me and leading me. It doesn’t always appear grand. It’s the still small voice, it’s the decisions I make in private. It’s the heart fixes he does on me behind closed doors. I was so worried about the big picture and that I would miss his will that I didn’t realize I was walking in it. When we are obeying, seeking, reading, praying, worshipping and submitting to him in the little things, his will is being done in our lives. We just have to remain faithful in seeking him. Psalm 119:10-11 (NIV) says, “I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

The small things are the big things. The private things, the heart posture. It’s important to him and it positions us to do everything else he has planned for us to do. Can we obey in the small things and trust him to lead us to the place he has prepared? Isaiah 49:23b (NLT) says, “Those who trust in me will never be put to shame.” And even when we mess up along the way, he knows our frame and his mercy is great. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

Sometimes doing his will is not the huge, mystical, scary task we imagine. It’s trusting him to guide us when we don’t see the way. It’s the day to day calling. Days turn into years, and years turn into a lifetime of faithfulness and walking with God. When we walk with God, we don’t have to worry about missing our destination.