Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Our Master commands us to go. We need to get His permission to stay! The gospel is the account of Jesus’ leaving His Father’s right hand to go to Calvary. Jesus instructed those who wanted to be His disciples to leave their homes and their comforts and follow Him (see Luke 9:57-58). Some insisted they couldn’t go yet because they still had to care for elderly parents (see vv. 59-60). Others wanted to make sure everything was in order first (see vv. 61-62). Jesus never excused people who struggled to follow Him. He made it clear that to follow Him meant He set the direction and they were to follow.
We can convince ourselves that Jesus doesn’t really want us to adjust our lives, pointing to the success we’re enjoying where we are. Yet Jesus often told His disciples to go elsewhere in spite of the success they were experiencing. Peter had just pulled in the greatest catch of fish of his entire career when Jesus invited him to leave everything (see Luke 5:1-11). Philip was enjoying astounding success as an evangelist when the Holy Spirit instructed him to go to the desert (see Acts 8:25-26). Success where we are can be our greatest hindrance to going where Jesus wants us to be.
On the other hand, adjusting our lives to God’s work may not immediately lead to what looks like success. Moses experienced this truth as he learned how God was going to deliver the Hebrews from Egypt. God told him He’d harden Pharaoh’s heart. Yet the result wasn’t what Moses anticipated. Rather than allowing the Hebrews to leave, Pharaoh increased their hardship. Rather than becoming a hero among the Hebrews, Moses was despised for bringing greater suffering to them. Moses went to the Lord and asked, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me?” (Ex. 5:22). Much of the frustration we experience as Christians has nothing to do with what God does or doesn’t do. Rather, it has everything to do with the false assumptions we make about how we think God will and should act.
Have you ever done the will of God, and then things seemed to become worse? Moses completely misunderstood what the results of His obedience to God would be. When things didn’t turn out as he anticipated, Moses became discouraged. God had told Moses what to do, but He hadn’t told Moses what the consequences would be. It’s foolish to attempt to do God’s work using your own common sense. God doesn’t eliminate your common sense; He consecrates it. He gives you His wisdom so that you can understand His ways.
As you look back on God’s activity in your life, you’ll recognize the supreme wisdom in the way He has led you. As you look forward to what God may do, be careful not to become too comfortable where you are or to predict what He has for you next. If you do, you may resist Christ’s invitation to go elsewhere. He may lead you across the street to share the gospel with your neighbor or to the other side of the world. Wherever He leads, be prepared to go.
What success or comfort could tempt you to resist Christ’s invitation to go do something else? What apparent failure is discouraging you from trusting God’s call to join His work?
How will you adjust your expectations and your willingness to be used by God whenever, however, and wherever He chooses?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]