We are bombarded by ads that read such slogans as "Obey your thirst" and are unaware that skillful advertisers are speaking to the great need we all have as human beings to submit to and obey to something greater than us. We are inherently driven by a passion to quench some form of inner-longing, to fill a void, and to silence the voice within that cries out desperately to be heard. In a physiological stance, we can hear the gurgling of our stomach, or feel the arid dryness of our mouth as our tongue sticks to our palette, reminding us that it is time to eat or drink. So much so as we are aware of our physical needs, we should acknowledge our spiritual needs. If we can "obey our thirst", how much more can God give us than just a drink of water if we would obey Him?
If you have followed my blogs through the past three years, you more than likely have some knowledge of the journey I set out on, uprooting my son and I from Maryland in search of new beginnings in Los Angeles, California. Back then, you met the 23 year-old young woman who challenged life face-on, daring and enthralled by all it had to offer. I chased a dream of standing on the streets of Hollywood boulevard with my keyboard in tow, knocking on record label doors and instantly handed recording contracts marked with an x, awaiting my signature. Now, here I sit, attempting to hold back tears as I relive the days I spent running the rat race, trying to validate myself by measuring my talents up against other hollywood-bound hopefuls. But, these are not tears of regret or sadness. They are tears of gratitude as I wave farewell to Sunset strip and head back east, equipped for the new journey that lies ahead. No, I am not returning with a recording contract. However, what I have left LA with is far greater than anything this world could offer. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole word, and loses his own soul?" (Mark 9:36) I have laid down my selfish ambitions and raised up one simple question: "Lord, how might I serve You?" In that instance, a transformation took place, not over night, but through daily acts of obedience. See, I once obeyed the desires of my heart, hoping to see my name in the lime light. But, God pulled the spotlight off of me and showed me that in all things we must center it back on Him. God reminds us in scripture that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) This is where obedience steps in. All God wants is all of us--our time, our devotion, our thoughts, our hearts!
Oftentimes, we do not know what God's will is for our lives, but I assure you that with acts of obedience, He will align the desires of our hearts with His. As I opened this posting with the slogan for Sprite's soft drinks, you might have envisioned the tv commercial of a man or woman drenched in sweat, seemingly dying of thirst, reaching out for the sprite bottle as beads of water droplets condense around it. Our physical thirst can be quenched by a cold drink. But what about the thirst of our souls? We can dance in circles all day long around what God has waiting for us on the other side of our commitment to Him. However, at the end of the day, our souls will still desire something more. I promise you that nothing of this world can quench that! Jesus reminds His disciples, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it" (Mark 9:34-35). When we lift up our hands and surrender our lives to God, this proves a submission of our wills. It is a beautiful progression of events that take place, but the initial step begins in the heart. There is a quote that is widely used: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder". However, I would like to pitch out to you a little food for thought using the same idea but changing one word: "Obedience makes the heart grow fonder". If we neglect a relationship with God, we are neglecting our souls. We can't physically live without food and water. On the same token, spiritually, we can't live without Him! We enter into a joy and peace that surpasses all understanding when we say "YES"!
I am living proof that obedience makes the heart grow fonder as God has showed me how to turn a cheek towards strained relationships. In addition, He has fueled in me a desire to serve others. He gives us a heart to love on one another, hands to help, and eyes to see the need. We are instruments and tools He uses daily as we re-enact a piece of heaven here on earth. He will breathe on our gifts and play out the desires of our hearts as they align with His just because we made ourselves available to listen and adhere to His instruction. This in turn pleases the soul. When we break into the shoes God made for us as we endure our walk with Him, our hearts will grow light, knowing that we are exactly where God calls us to be. We are standing in the center of His will for our lives. We will no longer be a victim to the deceits of the heart, but instead be victors over matters of the heart.
All because we chose to obey, take up our cross, and follow HIM!
Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, do not grow weary in well-doing. He recognizes your dedication to Him. He will grant the desires of your heart (according to His will) in His timing, and in due season.
God bless you, readers! Until next time, be encouraged!