I am an old-fashioned girl from a conservative background and like to think this is a good thing. But every once in a while, it has a disadvantage or two.
To give you some perspective: My mom grew up as an MK/PK. (If you don’t know what these mean, chances are you won’t relate to her upbringing at all.) Like many Christians of their generation, my grandparents believed going to movies was wrong and that swimming on Sunday was sacrilegious.
Though I respect my grandparents’ memory, I personally don’t hold to those beliefs. Life should be less a matter of rules to be followed and more a matter of focus: what are my priorities, and are they in the right place? (But that’s for another post.)
That said, my family background didn’t exactly lend itself to certain opportunities. Like learning how to dance.
So when a friend invited me to a swing dance hosted at a Baptist church (yes, Baptist!), I said sure. And spent an hour or two watching YouTube tutorials.
They didn’t really help. Give me points for trying.
But I did learn some basics, such as when dancing, there is a leader (the guy) and a follower (the girl). Their steps are different but depend on the other’s mutual cooperation.
A Spiritual Dance
Just as dancing doesn’t work very well when the girl doesn’t follow the guy, we can’t progress in our personal walk with the Lord when we refuse to follow His lead.
Oh sure, we can make all sorts of excuses to God.
- I want Your best for my life, but I’m not brave enough to follow You there.
- I’m just not good enough to do what You’re asking me.
- I’ve failed so many times. You can’t possibly want me to try again?
- Nothing about this situation makes sense. Would You really want me to take such a risk?
We stall. We say we’ll “pray about” it some more.
What we’re really doing is refusing to follow our Leader.
There are several examples of this in Scripture. Moses is the first that comes to mind. He didn’t want the job of telling Pharaoh to let Israel go. In Exodus 4, he essentially told God, “You have the wrong man.”
The conversation went like this:
God: “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:12 ESV)
Moses: “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13 ESV)
In His amazing grace, God allowed Moses’ brother Aaron to be his mouthpiece and used Moses in spite of himself.
Trust and Obey
Today, God still calls people to do seemingly “unreasonable” things. If you don’t believe me, read Steve Saint’s book The End of the Spear. God called him to uproot his family and professional life to return to the Amazon jungle and help the tribe that speared his dad to death learn how to survive the changes of modern influences.
To the world, such a request would seem absurd. But Saint went and followed God’s direction for his life. Sure, it had its fill of difficulties and heartbreaks. God never promised that doing His will would be easy. He just calls us to obey. And follow.
It’s the same call that sent my grandparents to Colombia as missionaries. They buried their oldest son there.
My grandmother’s favorite hymn was “Trust and Obey.” I love the lyrics and sometimes tear up when I sing them. If you don’t know the words, look them up and read through the verses. All of them.
Verse five is my favorite. It reminds me of where I’m going, but until that day, it challenges me to live in fearless obedience:
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way. What He says we will do; where He sends, we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.
What about you?
How is God asking you to follow Him today? You don’t have to move to the jungle to serve Him, but if He calls you, by all means go!
Maybe it’s obeying His call to serve in a ministry or to witness to a classmate or to smile at a difficult customer. (Yes, sometimes the jungle looks more inviting than the “civilized” people at school or the office who try our patience day in and out.)
No matter how uncomfortable or unprepared the call makes you feel, be willing to trust God and obey.
He’s the best leader of your life you could ever want.