A Call to Persevere
18 But if you refuse to surrender, you will not escape! This city will be handed over to the Babylonians, and they will burn it to the ground.’”
19 “But I am afraid to surrender,” the king said, “for the Babylonians may hand me over to the Judeans who have defected to them. And who knows what they will do to me!”
20 Jeremiah replied, “You won’t be handed over to them if you choose to obey the Lord. Your life will be spared, and all will go well for you. Jeremiah 38:18-20 NLT
The only problem is that we do not obey Him even though everything is already written in the scriptures! It is a known fact that we do not obey God’s Will because we have the “see first to believe” attitude and we need to be convinced first before we obey. I was totally struck when I was reminded of my old self and how I wanted to see answered prayers first before I could believe that God really answers them. If you are reading the Bible, then you know what I am talking about, but it is not enough that we just know God’s Will – obedience is needed.
Elijah Fed by Ravens
17 Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
The Widow at Zarephath
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.” 1 Kings 17 NLT
It was impressed on my heart that I will never know God’s Will for me until I obey Him and this entails total surrender and joy in obedience. God’s Will and Plans are always one step at a time and there is no need for rushing because God’s timing is always perfect. I was also reminded that we need to discern His Will carefully as we must not base it solely on our own understanding. Praying is our anchor in understanding God’s Will for us.
How do we discern God’s Will? Ptr. Peter showed us a step-by-step process on how to do it.
12 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 NLT
We need to understand that God’s plans are all good, acceptable, and perfect. We do not need to conform to the world – money, lust, fame, etc – and just be secured with Christ. Delayed obedience is disobedience and a total surrender can bring Transformation in our lives. Total surrender is not a failure but a victory.
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
Trust Him and His words.
3. STEP-BY-STEP OBEDIENCE.
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feetand a light for my path. Psalms 119:105 NLT
We can obey step-by-step and commit S.M.A.R.T.E.R changes in our lives.
4. SEEK GODLY COUNSEL.
31 If you listen to constructive criticism,
you will be at home among the wise.
32 If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
33 Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom;
humility precedes honor. Proverbs 15:31-33 NLT
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NLT
2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4 NLT
As I have said, I used to see first the answered prayer before I believe that God answers them however, this was debunked. God ALWAYS answers prayers and these circumstances happened to be one of His ways of answering our prayers – it is just that sometimes, we just do not like what He answers and tend to turn the other way. Instead of praying for things to happen or people to change, pray for wisdom to guide us in discerning His will through life events and circumstances.
6. GOD’S PEACE.
7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NLT
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. Galatians 5:16 NLT
Obeying his Will can bring God’s Peace into our hearts. Discerning God’s Will in our lives is definitely difficult. Because we do have a Will of our own and sometimes it is difficult to obey when we want to make our own Will happen instead of God’s Will. That is why we need to pray really hard for God’s guidance, strength, and His wisdom to understand His Will. We need to pray that may it ALL be according to HIS WILL and not ours because if we force our own Will to guide us in our lives, we cannot surely make it. We will never know what God’s Will in our lives until we obey.
Obeying God’s Will may be difficult but it will be totally WORTH IT.
We are called to Persevere to know and obey His Will.