It's not easy to learn how to obey God when it leads to sacrifice. Has God ever asked you to follow Him when it meant sacrificing something important to you?
It took me years to finally find the courage and the stillness to hear God’s voice and follow Him in a leap of faith. I was afraid of sacrificing my security and stability. And so I tried to muster it up for myself and always came up empty.
After I graduated college, I went on a wild chase for what to do with my life. I went through part of two different programs and various jobs as I tried to find the perfect career. I wanted to follow the expectations that others had set for me and the ones that I had set for myself. I wanted a stable career that would carry me through any possible struggles life threw at me.
I couldn’t rely on anyone else. I needed to do what was expected. These were the lies that followed me and they took me far from God’s plan for my life for years.
What about you? Are there things in your life you may be clinging to that God needs you to sacrifice?
Is it money? Time? Reputation? A close relationship? A favorite hobby or bad habit? And activity or part of your weekly routine?
These things are hard to sacrifice. Everything around us and everyone around us is usually spouting out the same expectations. These lessons are taught to us from a young age.
We fly through life in the go-go-go mentality and often times we miss the still, soft voice that God calls us with.
And let me tell you, there is tremendously more blessing in following God’s call than in rushing through our days, following the world and our previously set expectations.
The Church Trap
Has God ever asked you to give up time invested in church activities? I sometimes find myself thinking that if it has to do with church or with family, that must mean it is a good way to spend my time. I shouldn’t sacrifice any of those things, ever.
But honestly, sometimes God asks us to sacrifice these things and we need to be ready.
God is asking to be your first priority. The number one in your heart and in your life. This may mean sacrificing time with your family in order to spend time with God. This may mean sacrificing time spent volunteering at church in order to go where God is calling you.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what looks good and forget to actually spend time with the One who is good.
Don’t let your busyness be ruled by church activities. It’s easy to hide behind these things and not slow down enough to hear God’s voice and follow His call. If God is asking you to sacrifice a previous commitment or a busy schedule, it means He has something better waiting.
Slowing Down Enough To Listen
Hearing God’s voice doesn’t happen like we often want to. I mean, in my years of searching, I prayed hard, I talked with several trusted people, I journaled, I read my Bible.
But my heart never stilled. No matter how desperately I wanted to hear God’s voice, I never slowed down enough to listen. I was afraid to hear the truth. I was afraid to sacrifice the very things I thought were important.
Years later, when I finally reached a breaking point, I found it in myself to slow down. I had grown weary of racing through life trying to find answers.
I began to spend consistent time with the Lord, growing in deep intimacy with God. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would fill me and lead me. I asked God to heal the parts of my life that kept me running and kept me trying to find my own form of security.
And through this time, I found that what I had wanted and the conclusion I had come to several times over the years and yet left behind because I thought it was crazy, this was where God was calling me.
He was calling me to quit the teaching program I had almost finished and to start a blog. He was calling me to the first step of this amazing journey I’ve been on the past few years.
I often wonder what my life would look like if I didn’t take the time to listen.
I would have missed the call that led me to so much blessing. God knew what I needed, even when I thought I needed something else.
Obeying When It Means Sacrifice
But at the time, all I knew was that God was asking me to take a major risk and do the very thing I’d spent years avoiding. He was asking me to sacrifice my personal sense of security and stability and to rely on Him completely.
He was asking me to risk my reputation and risk falling short of the expectations that others and the world around me had for me. In fact it took many months for me to actually become confident that I wasn’t just crazy in quitting and taking this leap of faith.
I sacrificed these things and although I still see sacrifice playing out in my daily life, in financial areas, in social areas and in many other ways, I wouldn’t trade it. God has blessed this path in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
I took the risk. I sacrificed what was important to me, even after years of avoiding it. And it wasn’t easy. Sometimes it is still really tough. But God has blessed this step.
And when you obey Him, despite your fears, doubts or hesitations, He will bless your step as well.
Is God Asking You to Sacrifice Something to Obey Him?
Walking in obedience to God is an essential part of finding hope and peace and joy. When we do this, we can be content and we will receive blessings in abundance.
But what is God asking you to sacrifice?
It won’t be easy. You may receive judgement. But as you grow closer to the Lord, I pray that you will find the strength and encouragement to obey Him in your every step.
It takes courage to slow down enough to hear God’s voice. It takes courage to accept that God is asking you to sacrifice. And it takes courage to follow God, even when it’s really tough.
If you don’t feel like you have this courage, don’t give up. God grows this courage within us as we take small steps in obedience. Obey God in the small and He will give you the growing courage and strength to obey Him in the big.
Spend time with Him daily and grow in intimacy with the Lord. When you do these things, God will bless each step of obedience that you take.