“You are my friends if you do what I command.” 2 John 1:6 (NIV)
Have you ever been in the position where you had to pick between two choices? I was put in that position a few months ago and I struggled. I was given a choice of two options. I believe I could have picked either choice because neither one was against God’s word. However, after praying and asking for God’s wisdom, I knew in my heart God was giving me an opportunity to step out and make the harder choice. He had been preparing me for months for this specific instance and wanted me to choose wisely.
I can feel my roots growing deeper in my relationship with God. Instead of always wanting my way and being too afraid to step out and do things His way (sometimes the harder way), I am starting to take those bold steps, even while still afraid, and doing things His way for no other reason than because I know that’s the best choice.
Which brings me back to the decision I talked about above. God presented with me an opportunity for a blessing but I had a choice to make. While neither choice was Biblically wrong, my preference didn’t coincide with what I felt God was whispering in my heart. In the past I would have taken the route of fear; however, this time I felt strongly I needed to step out and be bold with my answer because I believed God might have a blessing that wouldn’t occur unless I took that step of faith. Was I guaranteed that I would be blessed by making that choice? Nope. I just felt God was inviting me… and I still had the option to say “no thank You, Lord, I’ll take what feels safer.”
Sometimes, though, obedience isn’t that easy. Sometimes, we are asked to choose between our desires and honoring our marriage commitment. Or between the more “fun” option and integrity. Or what feels good in the moment and the slippery slope of compromise. And sometimes, choosing obedience can be lonely because choosing the right path is the choice when you will be… alone.
When I was in my 20s, after moving to Michigan, I went back to visit friends from my old job. I had a great time reconnecting for the evening, and because I had traveled with others, I needed a ride back to my hotel. I soon realized on the way back to the hotel, I had put myself in a compromising position and was going to have to make a choice. The friend who drove me was making it known he would like to kiss me, a guy I’d had a crush on while we worked together. However, he was now dating our mutual friend and therefore “off the market.” However, God reminded me this was about more than a simple kiss. This was about making the right choice even when it’s lonely.
I made the lonely choice. I said “no” to what was being offered (a simple kiss from a man who had committed to a relationship with my friend) and more importantly “yes” to obedience to my Heavenly Father. Even though I didn’t consciously remember it at the time, I believe making the hard choice as a freshman grew my muscle to make the hard choice this particular night. And I believe God blessed both of those choices by allowing me to marry a man far more amazing then the man I was tempted to kiss that night years ago.
Obedience can be lonely at times. God didn’t promise obedience would always feel good… in fact, I would go so far as to say obedience doesn’t feel good most of the time because it goes against our sinful nature. And while obedience can be lonely at times, it still feels better than the fleeting pleasure of compromise.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017