I regularly come across people who know that something is missing from their lives and in particular their faith. The search is on for the missing key. If you were to listen to the many self help gurus around today they would probably tell you that the following things are important:
- Knowing your purpose in life and pursuing it
- Investing well
- Eating healthy & regular exercise
- Work life balance
- Embracing yourself
- Daily meditation
- Being generous
I guess all these have their place in helping us towards a successful and fulfilling life. However I’ve discovered during my lifetime that there is something else that has made an enormous difference to my life. Clearly, I’m coming from the view point of already knowing God. If you don’t know Him yet then can I encourage you to discover Him for yourself. He is a million miles from the media portrayal of Him. He loves you and accepts you just as you are and longs for you to discover in Him forgiveness, love, acceptance and a whole new perspective that you never even knew existed. Imagine – really knowing and being able to talk to the creator of this amazing world?!
This article might help you discover God for yourself.
The Key To Success
One of the missing keys to a great life is this ‘to be obedient to the one thing that God is calling you to do now.’ There are three aspects to this:
First, Jonah (the guy who made whales famous!) was called by God to take His Word to Nineveh which was the major call upon his life. Those who know the story will realise that Jonah’s life was on hold until he obeyed – but what results when he did! I believe all of us are called to live significant and purposeful lives for God. There is a calling for each one of us – though it may not involve whales!
Second, God calls us every day to love Him and obey him in all kinds of different ways.
“Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3 NLT)
Clearly there are some pretty clear commands in His Word which should be our starting point. We ignore them at our peril.
Third, there are occasions when God takes us by surprise and asks us to do something at short notice! Instant obedience is required.
I remember when we were at Bible college with five young hungry children living off next to nothing and food was really scarce. Julia and I headed to our local discount supermarket to see how far we could make £20 go for a family of seven! As we entered the store I saw a fellow married student and in the moment God said ‘go and give him your £20 note.’ Thereafter followed a brief argument with God (which I lost!) and off I went to hand over the £20. The guy thanked me and ran out of the store! It was only a couple of weeks later that I discovered that the £20 paid for him to drive to Scotland that day for a family christening. He hadn’t got the petrol money! His family had been split by disagreements and arguments for years and because of our gift he was able to attend the family gathering and help bring full reconciliation to his warring family. Isn’t God amazing! (He provided our food as well that week but that’s another story of God’s provision!)
During the Welsh revival Evan Roberts regularly preached the same four point sermon. The third point was this:
‘Be ready to obey the Holy Spirit instantly.’
I believe many of us struggle to obey God instantly. I suspect we’re all a little rebellious in nature at times. However we will reap the rewards the more we do it.
Consider Naaman the leper who was asked to bath in the murky waters of the Jordan in order to receive his healing or Simon Peter who, having been encouraged to eat unclean food in a dream shared the gospel with the Gentile Cornelius. Consider David, who in a moment obeyed God and took down the giant Goliath with a sling and some stones. Consider the disciples who left their fishing boats and nets and followed Jesus. Consider Zacheus who climbed down from his tree and had his life changed. Consider Ananias who was called to go and pray for the murderer & persecutor Saul. All of these men obeyed God and did what He told them to do instantly.
Newcastle Dream Centre
Just recently in my own ministry we’ve had a frustrating year with regards to refurbishing our Dream Centre. I started talking to God about whether we’d got the order right – our plan being to first create a community coffee shop and second convert a large space into five rooms on the first floor. God showed me that He wanted things doing the opposite way around. I was like ‘but God – we need great coffee FIRST!!’ and Gods answer was something like ‘Son it’s my way or the highway!’ (I’m not sure God speaks like that but I got the message!) But you know what – since we obeyed – the offerings have increased and we almost have all the money to refurbish the five rooms and work will commence shortly!
I remember my mother telling me as a young man that God will often allow a person to remain in the place where they were until they’d done what He had told them to. I wonder how many of us remain static right now wondering why nothing is moving and God has gone quiet. Can I ask – have you done what He has told you to do? Have you done what you promised God you would do?
“When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4 NLT)
God is quite serious about the promises we make. We need to be careful about what we promise Him at church on Sunday’s. At times we respond positively to the challenge of the preacher and say ‘Yes God – I’m in!’ and tragically we go away and either forget our vow or wilfully ignore it. This does not please God. Is it time for you to make good on that promise you made to God?
I want to encourage you to adopt instant obedience as a missing key to success. I’m not sure we’re very good at instant obedience as Christians. Seriously we aren’t. The tragedy is that we miss out on so much blessing. Simple obedience means being obedient in small and large matters. Simple obedience brings blessing. It’s been my experience that simple obedience can also be a key that unlocks all kinds of doors to new opportunities, experiences and relationships (we have no idea what God has planned around the corner from a simple decision to obey!) Obedience brings life in all its fullness. Obedience demonstrates probably more than anything else that we trust God. Obedience builds faith. God loves obedience.
Sadly as someone once said ‘Every time we say ‘No’ to God we’re saying ‘Yes’ to the enemy of our souls.’ What a tragedy. I know who I’d rather partner with in life. On the plus side every time we say ‘Yes‘ to God we’re demonstrating that we hear His voice (it gets easier the more we obey) and positioning ourselves to be his vessel and who knows where that might lead….
Can I encourage you to pause for a moment and consider your life.
I’m praying for you that you will be obedient to your unique individual calling, His clear commands and the one very thing that God is calling you to do right now. Have you done what He’s told you to do…..it could be the missing key.