Read His Words Before Ours!
I sat at the small table with my journal open as I closed my eyes and breathed in the unusually quiet moment. Gently, He pressed into my spirit.
Ask her for forgiveness.
The name He whispered rang between my ears, and my mind stuttered. Umm…WHAT? Did I hear You correctly? That can’t be right…I haven’t done anything wrong! For what, Lord?
Does it matter? The question resonated in His still, quiet way.
I took a breath and squared my shoulders. No, it doesn’t. I will do it. I will obey. But Lord…it might help the conversation go a little more smoothly if I know what caused the rift I’m restoring. What am I supposed to say when she asks what I am asking her to forgive…and I come up empty? What will she think then? Am I supposed to tell her I don’t know? I hate to break it to You, but that might not go so well.
Restore the relationship. His voice was a little firmer this time.
Have you ever found yourself in that place, Love? On the receiving end of a divine directive leaving you knee deep in questions…and neck deep in confusion? The longer I walk with the Lord, the more convinced I become that the God Who loves to converse with us chooses to speak to us in a way that sparks all those questions.
He could give us a vision to shake our perception of reality and inspire immediate obedience without a single question. He could speak audibly, shaking Heaven and earth. He could speak through a burning bush, or write on the wall of our living room, or send an angel to deliver a message.
But, it fills His Father-heart to draw us into deeper intimacy through dialogue with Him. As we seek to understand His work and His voice, we find ourselves pressing fervently into a more intimate relationship, eager to hear Him and know Him.
Obedience is a theme the Lord has been speaking to me about for most of my adult life, but over the past few months He has been putting an even finer point on the difference between obedience and submission.
As a strong-willed child, obedience never came naturally. I remember questioning practically every thing my parents directed. I remember wishing I were more agreeable like some of my siblings. I even remember being disgusted with myself for the way I often responded. The internal battle I wrestled on a daily basis was great.
I wanted to simply obey and be agreeable, but something in me needed to know the why, and the how, and if I could possibly do it differently.
To my parents’ ever-loving-chagrin, I tested every boundary.
My strong-willed child-self didn’t fully understand what the Lord has been teaching me about obedience and submission: Obedience is the choice to intentionally bend our will in response to our Father’s directive. Submission is the heart posture He cultivates within us when we choose to make Him our highest priority.
Love, did you know it is possible to obey without submitting? We can obey with trudging feet and a disgruntled countenance. We can obey with pride. We can obey with anger. We can obey with comparison, and envy, and a spirit of competition.
But when we obey out of our flesh, we are forsaking the relationship.
We are missing revelation and grasping religion instead.
I don’t know what went through Mordecai’s mind when King Ahaseurus decreed all should bow to Haman, but he did know just what meant to disobey the king’s order.
Mordecai knew who he was, and Whose he was.
He was one of God’s chosen people; he knew he’d been set apart. Because his identity was wholly found in God, this intimate, experiential knowledge bolstered his bravery in the face of what should have been certain death. Others in the king’s court reported Mordecai’s bold refusal, reporting him to Haman. It stands to reason that Mordecai was most likely ostracized as soon as other officials at the King’s Gate realized he would not compromise his faith to please the king.
Mordecai could have joined the ranks of all those who face persecution and death for their faith. He didn’t know what the future would hold. Still, Mordecai chose to obey his God. He chose to forsake his pride, his status, his social acceptance, his name, even his very life.
Do you know what I don’t picture when I read the account of Mordecai refusing to bow to Haman? I don’t picture a man choosing to obey reluctantly. I don’t picture a man hiding behind curtains, or disguising his face. He wasn’t grumbling or complaining that he was being forced to do something he didn’t really feel comfortable doing.
His heart posture was willing. He was in right relationship with the Lord, unencumbered by pride, or self-interest, or self-preservation. It wasn’t about him, at all. Not really.
And because Mordecai’s heart posture was one of submission, the Lord’s plan to preserve His chosen people was fulfilled through Esther.
Sister, what is our good Father highlighting to you today? Where is He stirring your heart? Have you been going through the motions of obedience, but your heart posture has not been right before the Lord? Where are you holding on to your own designs, rather than leaning in to what Your Creator has planned?
We all have areas where we need the Lord to reveal direction.
Spend some time with Him today, and ask Him to speak to you.
He longs to share His heart with you!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!