I had originally written this as a submission for a devotional book, however the organization it was submitted to has not contacted me regarding the devotional book project. I believe since I did not hear back by the time I was supposed to hear back and the project has been removed from their website, that the project is no longer being done or my piece simply wasn’t selected and they failed to notify me. Whatever the case may be, it is now here for your benefit. May you be blessed by it.
No Matter The Cost
“Now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:22-24 “I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13
Paul gives us one of the greatest lessons in obedience no matter the cost. He knew the fate that awaited him in Jerusalem. He knew that his hands would be bound in chains there. He knew that he would face trials there. Yet still he went. Going to Jerusalem was an act of obedience to what God had told him to do. He obeyed no matter the cost.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Were you obedient knowing there may be consequences to your obedience? I know I have. I know it is a hard place to be. Though I did not face prison, I did face heartbreak. A friend of mine was living in sin. She already knew she was; but God told me to speak to her about it. I had to be obedient knowing that there may be consequences. I did not know what the consequences would be; but I did know that she would not be receptive of what I had to say. I knew that she would take what I had to say the wrong way. Though I went to her in love and concern for her spiritual journey, she took my words as judgement. Though she needed to hear what I had to say, her heart was not ready to receive it in the way it was intended. I had to be obedient and then I had to place her and the situation in God’s hands. My friend cut off communication with me for six months and did not invite me to her wedding. This was the consequence of my obedience. But God brought me through it and honored my obedience. When her heart was ready to receive my words, our friendship was restored. My friendship with my friend is made stronger because of the trial we went through.
If you continue in Paul’s story through Acts 28, you see that God brought him through his trials as well. Though Paul endured beatings and persecutions and imprisonment for several years, he was set free in the end and continued on to minister to the people of Rome. Paul’s testimony was made stronger because of the trials that God brought him through.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. God never gives us more than we can handle. He will never ask us to do anything that we are not capable of doing, so long as we rely on Him to equip us for every good work. “ Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
The story of Jonah is another example of the importance of obeying God. Jonah’s disobedience landed him in a lot of trouble with God. Paul’s story teaches us the blessings of obedience while Jonah’s story teaches us the dismay of disobedience.Jonah redeemed himself in the end, but how much better it would have been had he obeyed to begin with!
Friends, I encourage you to obey no matter the cost. Whether God is asking you to say something to someone, to take His story to a far off land, or to step out of your boat, do it! Do it in spite of your fears! Do it in spite of what the consequences may be! The blessings of obedience far outweigh any costs you may have to pay.
Father God, help me to know your perfect will in my life. Help me to always be obedient to Your voice. Help me to be obedient even when it’s hard, even when the odds are stacked against me. Help me to be obedient even when I am afraid. Your ways and Your thoughts are so much higher than mine. Help me to trust that You know best; to trust that You will take care of me. Help me to keep my eyes on the victory that is in You, for You fight my battles. In Jesus name I pray Amen.