I finished my book of John study last week, but my meditations and prayers haven’t moved on. The Holy Spirit keeps drawing me in for more studying and revelation. A personal journey of mine started a year ago, when I made the personal decision to follow John 2 and “do whatever He says,” without second guessing. I never imagined when I agreed and made that commitment, that the journey would lead me into the greatest faith journey I’ve ever embarked on. I think I thought, oh I will just obey Jesus and train my ear to promptly listen to his voice. But as I’ve been learning, obeying the Holy Spirit has hinged on faith.
Often, that faith has felt like free-falling from the sky- expecting and trusting Jesus to catch me.
7 months ago I wrote these words,
“ Several years ago I read a book, which became a staple next to my nightstand. Many months ago I pulled it back out and reread portions of it.
“Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:5
These words stirred my heart differently this time and I made an agreement with God, to obey, to say yes, to do whatever He tells me.
I knew when I agreed to do this, it could be a wild ride—- never did I expect for it to turn into a fast paced— “I can’t keep up with you, Jesus,” journey.
I felt the Spirit leading me in all the small ways and I agreed to obey, and it was full of supernatural faith and somewhat fun. I had moments where I was seeing how following Jesus isn’t boring, but a crazy adventure! He’s got SO much in-store for us that we’re missing out on!
Then just as the fun peaked, obedience became a little harder. Just as I teach my twins first-time obedience, I felt God asking me to trust him the same way.
There have been days I’ve sat on the couch sobbing, like Abraham obeying even in the HARD, agreeing to sacrifice his promised son, or even when it made no sense… I’ve sat saying, “okay God, even if it’s hard, and my mind doesn’t get this, I’ll do whatever you say.”
In my little box, the nice world I’ve created, God would move at a nice, easy pace for me to enjoy— yet I’ve often felt like the Spirit is moving and speaking faster than I can digest or go. Then I laugh, because he doesn’t want my strength or abilities, he wants my heart and HE will do the rest! I don’t have to sit and analyze… God is breaking down my pace to show me, simply follow him in 100% FAITH, just say YES and bank on him to show up.
It is beauty and it is messy all intertwined
I think sometimes we want more of the Spirit, more of God’s presence BUT to encounter it, we have to get out of our head— out of own way and say YES, I’ll do whatever you tell me… and in the undoing of our walls will find more of his love, his presence and his power as we say yes.
I started this whole “Do whatever he says” commitment on my own, never knowing I would be doing an upcoming study through John, but God did! 🙂
When I closed John 21 last week, my mind kept returning to John 2. Maybe because John 2 has been etched in my soul since last summer. I just find it interesting, the book of John opens up with Mary telling the servants,
“Do whatever He tells you,” and the last chapter closes with the disciples out in the boat struggling to catch fish, ultimately giving in and doing what Jesus told them. (throw the nets over to the right side)
Here we are in 2021, the American life is shaken, and if we are honest, the Church is struggling to bring in the harvest. We are in decline as the American Church, so I hear as the experts tell us. Many of us are somewhat weary for change. We long for evil to let up…. and we groan out in prayers, asking God to raise up people of faith.
If you are like me, I am greatly moved by stories of faith in the Bible or even when I come across stories of people today living by faith. I love to circle back to Joshua, Moses, Noah, many of the men and women in Hebrews 11 that are mentioned…. Our souls are stirred by faith stories and we may even whisper as we gloss over those giants of faith stories, “ I want to be known as a woman/man of faith.”
I am personally becoming more and more convinced, Satan has deceived us, to keep us watching his evil strategies advance while we sit in inaction and pray for more faith before we do anything. Or we may even pray for someone else to step up in great faith. God send ____ to help ____. You fill in the blanks.
The more I study I find, you don’t get faith by prayer alone…. We can’t sit and ask for prayer and then do nothing… You get increased faith through daily acts of obedience. The obedience no one sees or knows. The small seeds of obedience break in for increased faith.
Obedience and faith are really interlocked. You need faith to obey, when it makes no sense. And you obey to increase your faith.
That is because faith is a choice, it is hands and feet IN ACTION. EVEN when we don’t know the reasons or can’t see the end game, it is hard or is filled with why’s. We have to ask for the Holy Spirit to fill us daily with strength and the ability to choose obedience and choose faith.
In the mix of faith and obedience there has to be seeds of courage! When I think of courage, the stories of Joshua remind me, it was his courage to step out in obedience and faith, and do the hard, sometimes strange things to break open the way for God to move in miraculous ways.
Step that toe in the waters or circle seven times before seeing miracles.
Why do I believe we need faith so much in this season? In Ephesians 6 it says, “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to STOP the fiery arrows of the devil.” There is no denying, we feel the onslaught of the enemy at work this last year…. And how do we withstand AND fire back as the Church? WE PICK UP FAITH AS A SHIELD! Faith is active, not passive! It says right there, pick it up! Read the line in Ephesians 6 again, “hold up the shield of faith to STOP the fiery arrows of the devil.” I think we sometimes view the shield as a nice covering to protect us and we stop there, but what if the shield of faith isn’t just covering, it’s pushing back in offense to STOP the onslaught of the devil’s schemes? This shield of faith we pick up, is not a warm fuzzy feeling of faith. Not a, I will wait until I know why before I act in faith. This isn’t a listening faith, it’s a going and following Jesus faith.
Picking up the shield of faith is obeying, obeying takes faith.
But you have to KNOW the voice of the one who calls. You have to follow the Shepherd.
“My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and they follow me!” – John 10:27
Follow; this is obedience to his voice. And choosing to obey, increases our faith. There HAS to be a response to his voice! This is active participation on our part, which takes great faith. Genuine sheep (John 10:27) hear his voice and DO WHAT HE SAYS. The first miracle Jesus performs in John 2 comes from Mary turning to the servants and saying, DO WHAT HE SAYS! Remember, they hadn’t seen Jesus perform a miracle. It’s easy for us to say, yea, do what he says, It’s Jesus! But we have to stop and place ourselves in the story for a second. Jesus hadn’t performed a miracle up to this point, so this was an act of FAITH and OBEDIENCE to do what Jesus says…..
In John 14:15 (msg) “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.
I believe a way to break into our current decline and fight the darkness, is radical obedience that takes faith. The only way to pick up the shield of faith, is to lay down our lives and lose it. Me, you, all that call on the name of Jesus and hear his voice, we must get out of the way. We have our plans, our American comforts and dreams. And I just deeply sense, its giving it up, laying it at his feet, laying in complete submission and picking up our crosses.
Death- death of every dream or self-protection we’ve created. That death will take 100% faith to listen to his voice and believe his ways are better….even when they make no sense. I think we need the gentle reminder, Jesus doesn’t give us the option to pick up our crosses. When we said YES to Jesus, we counted the cost… and that cost was OUR life, our way. Remember, we just read John 14:15… how do we love Jesus? Obedience.
Jesus saved us and gave us life, in return we have the opportunity to, by faith, to listen to his voice and do whatever he says, like throwing nets on the right side or filling jugs up with water.
His way is always the better way than our ways. He takes our obedience and faith in him to make miracles happen. Our little faith is what opens the door of opportunity for Jesus to do miracles. He takes our faith to place 5 fishes and 2 loaves in his hand so he can multiply and feed thousands. He has abundantly more for us as we walk in faith!
Oh Jesus, help us pick up shields of faith and walk in daily obedience to your voice, to do whatever YOU SAY! In return, as the shield of faith held in resolve, may we see the arrows of the evil one stopped while we witness the greatest miracles and harvest in our lifetime.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. – Hebrews 11:6
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Sounds like you’re going on a good journey.
I really struggled for years with the idea of surrendering unconditionally. I fell hard and deeply in love with Jesus when I was saved in 2000, but I definitely still had conditions. Over time, worshipping Christ more and chasing more relentlessly after God, I was being repeatedly convicted on this point by the Holy Spirit. So finally, just a couple of years or so ago, I decided to take that next step and invite the Holy Spirit to take everything.
It’s been crazy satisfying, scary and interesting all at once. To be honest, letting go of that “American stuff” was the hardest part for me – I’m working on an MBA, I have a successful career, and I’m a highly ambitious person. I realized I couldn’t serve ambition and Christ at the same time, so Christ it is. At first, that was pretty terrifying. But it’s gotten a lot easier. I want Christ more than anything.
Thank you Kaitlin for sharing your journey with me! “I WANT CHRIST MORE THAN ANYTHING.” AMEN Kaitlin. If we get to the place we lay down our plans and dreams, He takes our faith + ambitions, careers, dreams etc and uses it all for his glory, in his way. 🙂
Yeah. For a long time, I had this idea – “I just don’t want to end up under a bridge, Lord.” Being in control, on some level, is comforting. I look around and the examples I see of people recklessly abandoning themselves to something seem to play out in destructive ways. The idea of letting anything or anyone run your life is sort of terrifying.
I’d point this out to God and the Spirit would respond with something like, “Okay, if your examples are people winding up in a ditch on drugs, then you need to consider what they were chasing after. Have I ever led you wrong? Do you trust me?”
In your post, the mentioned the speed with which God was moving in your life. I felt for a while like if I gave the Spirit an inch, he’d take a mile, and it was great but way faster than I’d want to make progress. So now, it feels like I’m in free fall or spiritually sky diving. And if I spend too much time looking down, I’ll panic. If I focus on Christ and trust the Holy Spirit, it’s easier and a lot more fun (I have days where this is super easy and days were it’s definitely not! But for once in my life of following Jesus, I’m finally at a point where I agree with God that above all, I want to gain Christ, regardless of the costs. Which is a crazy prayer to pray).
*you (grammar correction – should be “you” instead of “the” lol)