Tag Archives: disobedience

On Submission, Choice, & Love That Stays


DSC09435God will not love me more if I obey Him. He will not love me less if I don’t. He loves me, every piece of me, completely, unwaveringly. I cannot change that.

In middle school, I told a friend that God couldn’t go with them where they were going. That was a blatant lie, and telling it is one of my biggest regrets, even after they’ve forgiven me. I believed what I said; I believed it about them and about myself. But it was a lie. He would leave ninety nine to find one that was lost.

I have been afraid of where He wants to take me. Sometimes because I’m nervous, but sometimes because no part of me wants to go there. It might make me a little angry, but more than anything it makes me confused and hesitant; it has made me scared to go to Him fully open. But then He told me:

“If you decide not to follow me where I want to take you, I will follow you where you want to go. It’s you and me. I’m not going to leave you.”

If God responded to our disobedience, to our no’s, by leaving us? It would not be love anymore. Love gives, and love allows choice. “Obey me and I’ll stay, refuse and I’ll leave” is not love– it is manipulation.

Love without choice is manipulation.

It isn’t love at all.

God does not give or remove His love or His presence in our lives based on our submission to Him.

Here’s the thing about submission: if it is forced, it isn’t submission– it’s control. In order for me to submit myself to Him, there has to be the option not to. Submission is a choice, and by giving us that choice, God also submits Himself to us. He wouldn’t ask us to love Him in ways He Himself does not love. Love is sacrifice, is generosity. And He embodies that. He is love.

He never forces me to do anything. He knows what is best for me and He has shown Himself trustworthy, so submission is something I get to do out of deep love for Him and out of that trust– not out of fear or duty. But I could always choose not to submit, because love does not force anyone to do anything; love is given, it doesn’t take. And because I see His love in the fact that He lets me choose, it is easier for me to choose to submit. I want to. He loved me first; I love Him in return. We both give, we both receive. No one has to take.

He has always said that He doesn’t want our sacrifice if He doesn’t have our hearts. Because sacrifice without love is theft; it is one-sided, duty-driven, an attempt at control. Love is given; it cannot be demanded. He doesn’t want what we have to give: He wants us. He wants to be genuinely loved by us, willingly, affectionately.

Because that’s the way He loves us.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”   -Psalm 23:6

Obedience: What Jesus Taught Me in May


Lesson 1: Feelings can be redirected. This one is short and sweet. I had a dream about someone that made the entire day fluttery after I woke up. I didn’t want it to be because of that person, but the blissful feeling was one I didn’t want to lose. So, what did I do? I went to the Bible with my feelings. I used the feelings I had, but directed them to Jesus instead. I took advantage of them while they were there, and it made for a wonderful day about Him, not who I’d dreamed of that night. Dwelling too much on a fluttery feeling? Direct it to Jesus!

Lesson 2: Convictions need to be restated every day. This month, God showed me that I go to daydreams to lift up my spirit when I should be going to Him. He asked me to stop, because He wants to be the one I rely on. This wasn’t the first time: I’ve known for a while that He’s not too pleased when I go to my imagination for happiness, and many times I’ve resolved to end it, but it never lasts more than a few weeks, usually just a few days. However, this time He showed me that this is because I used my own standards to measure my success. Once I felt like I’d done well and exercised self-control, I was more lenient and trusted myself too much. I would tell myself, “I didn’t daydream almost at all yesterday, so I can allow this one little one to slip by.” Boom! Back to where I started in an instant. In order to accomplish something like this, I need to make the same resolution every day. I can’t think it’s over simply because I did pretty well yesterday! I need to live out this conviction like I just made it this morning, so I’ll make it every morning.

Lesson 3: Ask for confirmation, and God will give it to you. Have you ever heard or felt something and thought it was God speaking, but wanted to be sure? This has been happening to me a lot lately, and I was encouraged by my mom to ask God to confirm if it was Him or not. God doesn’t mind this at all; Gideon did it in the Bible, and God answered him (see Judges 6:36-40)! He answered me, too! He has done it in many ways: through something someone else said (they didn’t even know what I was praying about!), through what we talked about at youth group, through what He led me to in the Bible, and through themes that kept coming up everywhere, to name a few! He will answer if you ask!

Lesson 4: Ignorance is NOT bliss; it’s bitterness about whatever you’re trying to forget. Part two of the story begun in Lesson 2! What if you have the ability to keep your resolution, but just don’t want to? Ouch. Now you get to see my ugly side. I didn’t agree with God that what I was doing was wrong. I wanted to stop because He wanted me to and I love Him, but I didn’t have the earnest desire to myself, so I didn’t. I would apologize every night for my disobedience, but with no intention of changing. I claimed I wasn’t relying on my dreams. The pain of disobeying Him grew stronger every day. Ignoring my problem didn’t make it go away, but made it sting worse and made me more angry about it. He showed me through this that Lesson 5: When you get defensive about something, it’s a big deal to you. He showed me how crazy this was making me, and I finally apologized genuinely. Obedience is not about what makes sense to me; it’s about proving my love. The hurt of letting go is momentary, while the hurt of being defiant continues as long as you do. Disobedience hurts naturally! It’s not God’s condemnation, because He has none. It’s simply the result of what you’ve done. End the pain for yourself, and you will be amazed what God brings out of your obedience. The things you can’t see are BIG!

Lesson 6: God shows me love through my friendships. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my friends because I’m homeschooled and our schedules don’t mesh, but when God does give me an opportunity to get together with someone, it is such a gift. Do you realize how great a gift your friendships are to you? I got to see my best friend for the first time in quite a while this month, and our time together was precious. We talked about both fun and deep things, and later got to go to Bible study together, where we joined more friends to laugh, talk, and pray. That same weekend, a bunch of us from my youth group met at our youth pastor’s house to play games. I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time, it was so much fun! A good friend I hadn’t seen in over a year even came to visit my youth group! God always gives me some of my greatest joy bursts with my wonderful friends, and I think that’s because not only do I have their love, but His love shines through to me from the fact that I’m with them.

Lesson 7: Singlehood is a time made for absolute devotion to God, not searching. My journal entry from May 27th explains the conclusion of the story from Lessons 2, 4, and 5 perfectly:

God’s been sharing a lot about love and faith lately. I shouldn’t fantasize because 1) I won’t be surprised or I’ll be disappointed with the real thing, and 2) I have my whole adulthood to be married, but only a limited time to be single… If I fantasize and daydream and search, I’m throwing away this time. This time is HOLY!… I can’t search, because I won’t do a good job. Only God can see the right one. It’s like Samuel finding a king to replace Saul– he would have settled for the first guy, but God chose the very last who also turned out to be best! He was even handsome, ruddy, and had pretty eyes! God would even care to bless me with that! So… there’s me lately. Joyfully waiting.