I believe that our motivation to obey God depends on our trust in Him. We are not going to be very motivated to do anything that will cost us what we think makes us happy if we do not trust whoever is making the request. It doesn’t matter if a person or God asks us.
My trust is anchored in the deep-rooted belief that He loves me and what He asks of me is for my highest good. Most of us who are serious about our relationship and walk with Jesus won’t argue over what we know God may ask us. Our struggle is not found in a desire to be disobedient but in our postponed obedience.
Postponed obedience is when we say, “I agree with what God says. I want to do that. But not right now.” We decide we will do it, but that we’ll get all of the important tasks done first.
- Let me get the business built first.
- I need to get the kids out of school.
- I should look after my health first.
- I need to save more for my retirement fund, and then I can do what God said.
You see, these are not bad or evil things. They are all good, reasonable, logical motives to follow. The only problem is that they follow the Jesus of Culture more than the Jesus of Scripture.
When we postpone our obedience, several things can happen.
First and foremost, we don’t get to experience God’s presence as deeply if we don’t take the risk of faith. God never asks us to do something that He doesn’t intend to get involved in. He is inviting us to experience Him in a real way—for a specific agenda that He intends to accomplish through us.
Secondly, if we don’t obey His leading, He will simply get someone else to do it. We will miss it. Remember Esther when she was asked to risk her life in going to the king? Her uncle, said, “Esther, you’ve got to go in to the king. But if you don’t, God will raise up someone else.”
But it was Esther’s time. She was asked to risk her life or risk missing out on God’s agenda for her. What if she had said: “I don’t feel like going to the king. Today is my spa day”? There would be no book of Esther!
Just like Esther could have, we can always find good and reasonable alternatives to God’s call. But we need to listen to the writer of Hebrews:
"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." -Hebrews 4:7b
Do not postpone what needs to be done today.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.