"The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control."
- Psalm 32:8-9 NLT
Years ago, when my husband and I were going through some financial difficulties, I prayed and ask the Lord to provide me with a job that would help supplement our income. I didn't just seek God in a casual manner in this instance, I was desperate for answers, and I sought Him with all my heart. When He made it clear to me that He wanted me to go into ministry on a volunteer basis, I was stunned. But after receiving clarification and confirmation from the Lord, I made a quality decision to obey Him in the matter. It was then that He gave me several warnings about potential stumbling blocks that could arise as I determined to walk in His will.
First, the Lord told me never to question His instructions or His leadership. He showed me Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT), which says: "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." While the Lord has extraordinary plans for our lives, He won't force us to walk in them. We can decide to "do our own thing" and to go our own way--but then we will forfeit the blessings, rewards, and opportunities that are strategically positioned along the path of obedience. God's "solution" to our financial problems didn't make any sense to my practical mind, but I was to trust Him and obey Him without question, believing that He would provide.
Second, the Lord warned me not to give in to pressure to justify or explain my decision in ways that would cause me to waver. I couldn't afford to desire the approval or agreement of others so much that I would question my course of action. I had to determine to adopt the same attitude that the apostle Paul had when he said: "Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ's servant." (Galatians 1:10 NLT) If you focus too much on what other people think, you will never fulfill your God-given purpose or potential. A good rule to live by is: Obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.
Third, the Lord instructed me never to give place to fear. I was to believe God for total victory and success whenever doubts, trials, or negative words from others came my way. Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) have gotten me through some trying times: "Therefore, dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." When I'm tempted to let adverse circumstances or fears "move" me, I remind myself that because I've determined to do God's will, all of heaven is on my side. And the same power that raised Christ from the dead works in and through me. (Ephesians 1:19-20) As the Lord encourages His people, "You will succeed because of My Spirit." (Zechariah 4:6 TLB)
Lastly, God told me to remember my reward. From cover to cover, the Bible speaks of the extraordinary blessings the Lord holds in store for His obedient children. "Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised. " (Hebrews 10:35-36 NLT) The Lord's rewards will not always be what we expect--but they will always be what we need. When my husband lost his job and had a near-fatal heart attack a few years ago, we could have easily lost everything. As the Lord provided for us every step of the way, He let me know that it was because I was honoring Him by doing the job He gave me to do--both in good times and in bad. God has a bright and beautiful future in store for you. Decide today to cooperate with Him, so that you can fulfill your own divine destiny in Christ!
Prayer: Lord, today I lay down all of my own desires and plans, and I choose to follow Your will. Remind me that surrender is a moment-by-moment exercise, and not just a single act. Thank You that as I seek You in all I do, I will see my God-given destiny unfold in amazing ways!
- J. M. Farro