When you buy a house you first make a large down payment. Then, to keep the house, you must make a smaller payment every time it comes due. You can’t change your mind and say, “I don’t feel like making payments!” without serious consequences.
The same is true of your relationship with God. To make Him your permanent dwelling place, your initial down payment consists of making Him Lord over your life. After that, ongoing payments must be made, which means saying yes whenever God directs you to do something. They are all a part of the purchase, but one happens initially and the other is eternally ongoing (just like house payments!). The difference is that the Lord will take only as much payment from me as I am willing to give Him. And I can possess only as much of what He has for me as I am willing to secure with my obedience.
Taking the initial step of making Him Lord over your life is the same for everyone. Saying yes to God every day is an individual matter.
God gives you personalized direction so He may ask you to do something He is not asking anyone else to do. For example, He may be directing you to leave a specific job or move to another city. You have to trust that God has your best interests in mind and be willing to do what He asks of you, even if you don’t understand why at the time. Obedience starts with having a heart that says yes to God. We can never live in God’s will if we haven’t learned to say yes whenever God gives us direction for our lives.
RELEASING YOUR DREAMS
I always wanted to be a successful entertainer. It sounds embarrassingly shallow even to mention it now, but it was a desperate drive when I was younger. I desired to be famous and respected, never mind the fact that I possibly didn’t have what it might take to attain either goal. After I received the Lord and had been married just a few months, God clearly impressed upon my heart that I wasn’t to do television or commercials anymore. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew it wasn’t right for me. Whenever my agent presented me with an interview I would have previously died for, the thought of it gave me a hollow, uneasy, deathlike feeling. Because the peace of God did not accompany the prospect of doing it, I turned down every job that was offered.
Yes, God, I won’t do that commercial. Yes, God, I won’t accept another television show. Yes, God, I won’t sing in clubs anymore. Yes, God, I’ll leave the agency.
Gradually, all my work was gone. God had closed the doors and asked me to stop knocking on the ones that were not in His plan for me. The experience was scary, but looking back now I clearly see the reasons for it. Acting was an idol for me. I did it entirely for the attention and acceptance it would bring me, not because I loved the work. My identity was totally wrapped up in what I did. For God to change that, He had to take away my means of defining who I thought I was and help me establish my identity in Jesus. He knew I couldn’t be healed of my deep inferiority feelings if I was daily putting myself in a position of being judged by superficial standards.
The part we don’t want to hear is that a time comes when each of us must place our desires and dreams in the hands of God so that He might free us from those that are not His will. In other words, you secure your future by releasing your dream to God and, if need be, allowing it to die. If you’ve always had a certain picture of what you think you should do, you have to be willing to let the picture be destroyed. If it really is what God has for you, He will raise you up to do that and more. If it isn’t, you will be frustrated as long as you cling to it.
Often the desires of your heart are the desires of His heart, but they still must be achieved His way, not yours, and you must know that it is He who is accomplishing them in you, not you achieving them yourself.
God wants us to stop holding on to our dreams and start holding on to Him so that He can enable us to soar above ourselves and our own limitations.
Whenever we let go of what we long for, God will bring it back to us in another dimension.
THE ART OF THE QUICK RESPONSE
Saying yes to God means being willing to obey immediately when we hear His voice, and not waiting until all else fails or we feel like it or we’re at the end of ourselves. For God to transform us into whole people, we have to be totally available to Him. If He is telling us, “Do this,” then our saying, “Yes, God” immediately will bring the desired results more quickly.
Again, this is done a step at a time. If you can’t trust God enough yet to say, “Anything You ask of me, I’ll do,” then keep working at it. I must admit that saying yes to God was difficult for me until I read God’s words in the Scripture:
When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen. — Zechariah 7:13 NIV, emphasis added
That puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it? If we want God to hear our prayers, we need to listen and respond to His voice.
Being willing to say yes to God made me a candidate for much healing and blessing. Of course, I don’t always hear Him and I don’t always say yes immediately, but my desire is to do that. Saying yes to God without reservation is the first step of obedience that begins to build a successful and fulfilling life on the foundation you have laid down in the Word: prayer, confession, praise, and ongoing forgiveness.
Dear Lord, help me to continually say yes to You. Help me not be afraid to trust You and Your will for my life. I want to experience everything You have for me.
TOOLS OF TRUTH
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. — Romans 8:5
If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. — Luke 9:23–24
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4
You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve. I delight to do Your will, O my God. — Matthew 4:10
Are you listening to His voice? Are you responding immediately? Sometimes God is going to direct us away from what we think we really want (maybe even an idol). Are you willing to say the quick yes to God no matter what He says to do? Come share with us about a time you turned away from something you wanted because God said so and how He blessed you because of that obedience! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Ful