“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)
I love talking about how much of a gentleman God is. He doesn’t push His way into our lives, but He continues to invite us into a relationship with Him. He knows how much freedom can be found in a relationship with Him, but He is ever the gentleman, giving us a choice and waiting to see what we decide.
While the above choice is the most important decision we will ever make in life, God is a gentleman in every aspect of His relationship with us. Once we choose to become His child, His gentlemanly behavior continues. He invites us to a deeper relationship with Him. He invites us to make the tough choices and give up the bad behaviors and sinful lifestyles, because He knows that with those barriers in between, it prevents the blessings He wants to shower on us from flowing completely. But again, He’s a gentleman and will patiently ask and wait, but never force.
It starts with fully surrendering ourselves to a relationship with Jesus Christ. That’s just a fancy way of saying we give up control of making all the decisions in our lives and trust the God who created the Universe to guide us to make the best decisions instead. Decisions that will help fulfil the purpose and dreams He put inside us when He formed us in our mothers’ wombs.
However, it’s still an invitation. A choice. God won’t force our compliance. God will just invite and then wait to see what we decide. Recently God gave me that choice. I could stay in a job that I loved, with people I enjoyed and a position that fit my gifts and talents, or I could trust Him that He had great plans both for the company He was asking me to leave and for the next leg of the journey He was calling our family too. He didn’t give me any information except… “It’s time to leave.” No road map of where I was going. No emails about exotic places I’d always dreamed of visiting. Just a simple invitation to follow His prompting (it was His prompting that allowed me the privilege of stepping into the job three years ago, so I was familiar with what it sounded like) and then the ball was in my court. I had to volley but I had the choice if I was going to volley back to Him or if I was going to choose a different game to join.
While I say God invites and we have a choice, it is my opinion that as a Christ follower, a true follower of Jesus Christ, the choice isn’t a choice. Not really. I could choose to disobey… but why would I want to? If I chose to stay when God was telling me it was time to leave, I would be asking for His blessing to be removed from my life as well as from the company’s life. I would be preventing another person that God was inviting to apply for my job to accept His invitation to come aboard. I would be hindering the Holy Spirit from working for His good.
I stand by my statement that God is a gentleman. He doesn’t force us to do anything but He gently invites. I pray I never stop hearing His voice and responding in obedience. Not because I’m greedy and want to always be blessed… okay, maybe it’s because I do want to stay in His blessings. Because what’s the alternative? Disobedience hinders me from hearing God’s voice and I never want to choose that option. When God invites me to change… I never want to fail to respond. I always want to choose to trust His plan is for the best, even when He doesn’t show me the full picture.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017