How much I’m willing to sacrifice for someone depends upon how much I love them (or how much I love Jesus). Selfishly, I like what’s most convenient and comfortable for myself. For me to step out of my comfort zones, I have to ask myself if I truly trust God enough to meet my needs, and if I’m willing to surrender my will to His. I must continually ask myself: which do I love most–Jesus or what He’s calling me to surrender? The only way I’ll ever surrender to Him is if I truly grasp the fact that He loves me perfectly and He is completely trustworthy. I pray He will help me to grasp both concepts more fully. Trust and surrender are always prerequisites to obedience. I’m not going to surrender to, or obey, someone I don’t trust. (Whenever I submit to a human, I’m actually trusting God to be my protector and the One who will bring something good out of all things.)
Heart-felt service flows out of love. When I first fell in love with my husband, I was eager to tell people about him and I joyfully worked at pleasing him. I wanted to look good for him and treat him well. My love was so passionate for him that this was not difficult. After being married awhile, I found that my level of passion rose and fell, as did my desire to please him. It is the same in my relationship with Jesus. When I’m passionate about Him, my desire to please Him is much greater.
I am rarely motivated to do anything just because I need to or should do it. (I may do what I need to do, but I won’t be excited about it.) I’m motivated by what I want to do–what I’m excited and passionate about. The more I comprehend the depth of God’s love for me, the more passionate I am about Him. Service and obedience flow out of that.
One of the most intimate times in my marriage was during the six weeks that our premature son was in intensive care. During that time, Tom and I clung to each other and intimately shared our feelings. Likewise, I’ve found that, in my relationship with Christ, some of my most intimate times are during trials and suffering. I don’t like the suffering, but I love the intimacy with my Savior.
Other times, obeying Christ can lead me to a glorious victory over one of my weaknesses. He gives me the grace and strength necessary to overcome them. But first I must be willing to make the sacrifice required, and that willingness flows out of my love for Him. I want to please Him more than I want what He’s asking me to release to Him.
Still other times, God simply blesses me with an amazing experience where I see His invisible hand in the way He orchestrates circumstances.
God intended for my life to be an adventure. Adventures usually involve some discomfort, but at least they aren’t boring. If my relationship with Jesus seems boring, it’s probably because I’m not trusting Him enough to follow Him out of my comfort zones. I’m choosing comfort over adventure, and self-indulgence over sacrifice, thus missing out on the greatest, most vibrant relationship I could ever experience. And when my relationship with Jesus is vibrant, my relationships with people also become more alive.
Do I believe that God’s grace is sufficient for whatever He calls me to do? Do I truly want to experience all that God has for me? If so, I’ll step out in faith and follow Him into the greatest adventure of my life: doing His will!