When I began my journey with God, I was a biology major and sophomore in college. Before that, I never knew what it meant to be obedient or how to walk in obedience with the Lord. I lived life as it came with no direction or thought as to what was really next. When I became a senior in college, I knew that I would be graduating soon and decisions about my future had to be made. Like most seniors in college, I began applying to graduate schools in science, apply for internships at medical centers, and in my mind, I was going to be a doctor or researcher. It made sense. I was smart, ambitious, and that’s what was expected of me. I applied to programs, internships, and more and I was rejected from every single one.
One day when walking from the school’s library feeling defeated, I felt a sudden tug in my heart and in seconds, God revealed His plan for me. He wanted me to teach. ‘Me? A teacher? Really?’
A peace came over my heart and I knew this was the direction God wanted me to go. Then, thoughts about what my parents and friends would think began taking over my mind. Fear gripped me and I started to wonder if I should really go into being a teacher. My parents dreamed of me going into the medical field and I was going to disappoint them.
Was I going to make a decision on my life because of man or was I going to make a decision on my life because of God? Anyone could read this and say, “That’s easy! I will choose God” , but when you allow fear to grip you, your decision is no longer on what God has for you, but what man has for you. Proverbs 29:25 says, “fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.” When we obey God, we are showing that we trust His plan, not our plan and not our family’s plan. When we obey God, we are safe from heading on a destructive path of our lives.
Take Jonah for example. In Jonah 1 it says, “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. Because Jonah turned away and disobeyed God, he was swallowed by a whale.
I believe that the reason why Jonah disobeyed God was because he feared what those people in Nineveh would say about him. He was afraid they would reject him and would turn him away. When making a decision in your life, how often do you think about what others think about you? Are you doing it because of what others will say or what God says. Jonah’s story is an interesting one. I believe that the reason why Jonah’s disobedience in the Bible came at the very beginning was to show that even if you disobey God and His word, it’s not over for you. There is still grace in God. When Jonah was in the belly of the whale, He was in an uncomfortable state where he was not able to go anywhere and God was unable to use him. After the time in the belly of the whale, Jonah finally decides that he will do what God says and the moment he made that decision, he was released from the whale.
Obedience is my commitment as a Christian to follow the calling that God has placed on my life, even if it may be uncomfortable or not what I want to do. Even if it is what I want to do and not what someone else wants me to do.
In my experience, I have found that there are three things that we need in order to be obedient:
In other words, Trust + Peace + Action = Obedience
So even if you are dating, buying a house, or raising children, know that if God is speaking, just trust God, have God’s peace, and then take that faith action step that says, “God, I choose obedience”.
Today, looking back at that one decision that I had to make choosing obeying God in college, I can see God’s hand on everything that I have done in my job as a teacher. I have seen an enormous amount of favor that I did not even dream of when I was a senior in college because I trusted him. I know that when I obey God, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.