Encouragement for Today
“Living in the Hear and Now” – Part 2
Renee Swope, Director of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, Speaker Team Member
John 14:31, “But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (NIV)
Have you ever been afraid to say “yes” to one thing, not knowing if another wonderful opportunity may present itself next week? Do you wish you could hear God’s direction clearly for the big decisions you are trying to make?
Yesterday I shared my tendency to look ahead for tomorrow’s assignment instead of making sure I am obeying God’s voice when I hear it today. God showed me this a few years ago. I was trying to discern His will for my life so I could arrange my calendar accordingly. Much to my dismay, God told me to set aside my planning for the future while I learned to trust and obey Him more faithfully where I was – in my “now.”
I had been pretty well-behaved when it came to obeying in the big things — the ones everyone could see. It was when God called me to absolute obedience behind the scenes - in my home, in my car and in my attitude - that I was challenged the most (and still am). Obedience had somehow become an option when I was faced with little acts of service to which God called me at the most inconvenient moments.
For instance, a few weeks after my commitment to live in the “hear and now,” I noticed my husband's side of the closet was disheveled. God reminded me that J.J. enjoys things being orderly, although it’s not his natural inclination. I remembered how frazzled he seemed the day before. Then I heard God’s voice, "One way you could really love J.J. and bring peace to his world would be to reorganize his side of the closet."
My response: “He’s a grown man; he can organize his own side of the closet. I have two kids and myself to keep up with.”
God’s response: “Did you hear me? Are you going to obey me now?”
I had just recently read the parable of the talents and realized my attitude had become like that of the third servant. He had not been entrusted with as much as the other two servants, so he buried his talent in the ground. Maybe he thought, “I wasn’t given much so why even worry about being faithful with it? I’ll just take it easy on this assignment. The master will probably never notice.”
I confessed to God that I sometimes saw my role as a wife and mother as “average” responsibilities – one-talent kind of assignments. Plenty of people have the same assignments, I thought. Without realizing it, I believed it wouldn’t matter much if I were a little selfish, inconsiderate or impatient here and there. But God wanted my will, and my willingness, in every area of my life — here and now.
Why would God require absolute obedience? Because He wants us to trust Him. He also knows that when we’re obedient with ordinary assignments we can be trusted with extraordinary assignments. He says when we are faithful with the little things, He’ll “put us in charge of many things” and give us a deeper joy than we have ever known. (Matthew 25:21) Author Beth Moore reminds us that “the answers God gives us in our tomorrows often flow from our faithful todays.”
So, is there an area of your life where God is calling you to be obedient? Does He want you to submit to your husband when you’d prefer to lead your family? Is God asking you to trust Him with your finances instead of working more hours? Do you hear Him calling you to forgive someone who has hurt you, or restore a relationship that is strained?
No matter what it is, or how hard it seems, you can trust Him. Obedience is an act of trust, a surrender of our will for His.
God has been so patient as I learn to be faithful and build my relationship with Him on the foundation of trust. I have found that is in my relationship with Him that I find the purpose and meaning I long for, and that my calling flows from my love for Him, not my need for fulfillment or the desire to be important in anyone’s eyes but His.
By the way, I reorganized J.J.'s side of the closet. I am almost sure I heard God chuckle and felt the warmth of His smile. May He smile on you today as you commit to live in the here and now — acting on what you hear and living it out now.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, when You look at the assignments You have given me, do You find me faithful? Am I living and listening the way You want me to? I confess that I easily fall into the trap of waiting for a better tomorrow, a bigger assignment, a more fulfilling calling so that I can be faithful. I want to live from the heart You gave me when I accepted Your Son’s life in exchange for mine. I want to be like Jesus. Please show me how and live Your life through me as I seek to have Your heart and be Your hands in my world today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The first step to hearing God speak is spending time alone with Him. If you haven’t already, set aside time to be with Him today, simply listening. The primary way He speaks to us is through His Word. Read the power verses below (or others He leads you to) and ask the Lord to show you what one truth He has for you today. Abide in Him and let His Word abide in you.
What kind of assignments has God given you as a woman? Are you being faithful and obedient in the here and now?
Are you willing to listen and obey in the little things, believing that you’ll discover God’s plans for tomorrow through your faithfulness today?
Ask God for a special assignment today – one that allows you to be Jesus with skin on in your home, at your office or for a friend in need.
John 5:19-20a, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.” (NIV)
John 8:31-32, “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" (NIV)
John 10:4, “His sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (NIV)
John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Originally published Thursday, 15 September 2005.