God, I’ll do that for you because I want to obey, but here’s what I hope for in return. . .
Lord? Umm, I did it. In fact, I’ve been doing it and it’s not working out the way I thought it would. Are you noticing that?
Sweet Jesus, I’ve been walking this road for two years now and I’ve started to believe that it was a huge mistake.
I’ve thought all of these things at one time or another.
I’ve prayed them.
I’ve lived them.
I somehow was led to believe that obeying God was a strings-attached kind of action/reaction.
I obey God = My life works out the way I have it all planned.
Our faith has no strings attached. Not really.
Otherwise, Peter wouldn’t have left his fishing business and familiarity to walk into martyrdom.
Mary wouldn’t have been seen kneeling at her son’s feet while He hung on a rugged cross.
James wouldn’t have been at the mercy of Herod.
I could list hundreds — thousands — of examples where people obeyed God and, from the outside looking in, it appears that obedience led them down an “unsuccessful” path.
In my strings-attached world, I would always know exactly where God is leading me. I would always have some sort of tangible payoff at the end. I’d obey and — bam! — things would fall into place.
Lately this scripture has come to life for me.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NLT)
And here’s the secret we find within that verse.
We are crucified and yet we live!
Something profound happens when we lean into obedience.
We go places we’d never go otherwise.
Peter walked on water. He witnessed miracles. He was forgiven, loved, and taught by Jesus Himself.
He could have ended his days with salt water on his cheeks and a pile of fish, but He and the direction of his life was altered by his relationship with the Savior.
We know His voice.
Obedience may not lead to success, but it does lead to relationship. We hear His quiet voice and our head turns. We stop. We go ahead. We wait. We respond. Whatever we hear Him saying.
Walking with Jesus isn’t about what we get at the finish line, but the joy of walking with Him.
We begin to understand what He gave.
When we discard our strings-attached theology, we begin to acknowledge what He’s already given instead of asking what He’s going to give.
Just this morning I was talking to a friend and she was explaining that she has been in a place of obedience for two years and things are finally coming together.
As we talked, she also shared how those two years deepened their faith. How they turned to each other and prayed through the harder places. How she and her husband knew they were exactly where they were supposed to be, but how they had to cling to God when it seemed the exact opposite.
She didn’t avoid the hard parts. There were many times they thought that obeying wasn’t giving them what they thought it would.
Which is the greater prize?
Is it the payoff that finally arrived or the depth of faith that only comes from trusting Him?
My pastor said this on Sunday:
You never know that Jesus is all you have until Jesus is all that you have.
Let that settle into your heart.
When we live with a no-strings-attached faith, it strips away expectations to find eternal value in our everyday life.
We know that we are exactly where we should be and, if success comes with that, it’s all His to do with as He pleases. We’re so non-invested in that aspect of it because we have Jesus, and it’s more than enough.
Is it okay to ask God for wisdom? Absolutely. Does He care about those hard places? Yes, He’s in the midst of them. Will we look back one day and see what He was trying to do in and through us? I believe we will.
A no-strings-attached faith simply allows us to discover Him on the journey.
Maybe you are in a season where you are obeying and it’s hard, because nothing is going the way you thought. I’ve been there.
I’d love to pray with you today.
Today is #livefreeThursday. Women from around the nation will be talking about “no strings attached.” I hope you’ll check out their blogs! Let’s take this conversation deeper right here on this blog!
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