Lately, God has been opening doors for me. They’re not just good opportunities, but God opportunities. Good opportunities can be received on my own, but God opportunities have God’s supernatural power all over them. I cannot gain God opportunities without…GOD. So there are open doors that God made possible, and the end vision looks so beautiful, but the steps God is prompting me to take to get there often look difficult. They don’t make sense…and I have learned that that’s 100% ok, because I’m not called to make sense of them.
Maybe God has called You to do something; opened up the door for You. Maybe the step He’s asking You to take seems crazy frightenin. It looks ludicrous to Your family and friends; to the world; and even to You. What do You do? Do You consult everyone before You’re obedient to God, or do You follow Jesus and remember that this is a walk of sacrifice, submission, and FAITH? In short, You have to go where God says go! There is something greater at risk than a moment of being uncomfortable. Besides, we know that being uncomfortable is apart of growing.
So let’s review what The Word says about concerning Yourselves with the opinions of Your family and friends, the world, and Your thoughts.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
Quite frankly, this is the one thing that holds so many Christians back. Often times, we can shoo the thoughts of strangers, but the opinions of those closest to us matter. You get instruction from God, and then You go and ask all these people around You, most of which aren’t following Jesus—cause being a believer and a follower are two very different things. So You ask Auntie so-n-so and Your best friend from the 6th grade, and a slew of other people that aren’t God. Think about that for a second…You’re asking mere humans for opinions concerning God’s calling for Your life. Wise counsel is awesome, but is the person Your asking really wise in the Lord?
I’m convinced that if the counsel is truly wise, they would advice You to go and do WHATEVER God tells You to do.
Let’s think about the beginning of the New Testament, when Jesus is rounding up His disciples to follow Him, fellowship with Him, and learn His ways. He calls them to come and a few recognize the blessing of that command and they leave everything and follow Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22). THATSALWAYS BEEN SO POWERFUL TO ME! Then, there are some that were so heavily burdened and weighed down by that charge and their own lives that they had to take care of some traditional and family business before they could follow Jesus (Luke 9:59-62).
When God is calling You to come and follow Him, are You too burdened by the opinions of Your family to obey? Are You too burdened by traditions to obey? The mind-blowing thing about all of this is that it’s God who’s calling us. God wants us to come, but we can’t be so attached to thoughts and opinions that we miss that beautiful invitation.
Furthermore, God has also been telling me that as He calls me to do certain things, I have to leave some people behind. I have to learn to let go. I can’t bring them; everybody can’t go where I’m going.
Imagine You have a ticket for a bus; it’s scheduled to leave on Monday at 9 AM. You know this place the bus is taking You is undoubtedly God’s plan, but You’re so busy trying to take all Your friends and family along with You, that You miss the bus God had scheduled YOU to be on. Best friend and cousin didn’t have a ticket to that bus, so they’re not missing anything or losing out. But You…GOD PRINTED YOUR TICKET, but You were so worried about bringing all these people, that You missed it. But let’s pretend You do get to that bus on time, with those people; do You know how much stuff they are bringing with them? Maybe they haven’t laid it all at His feet like You have, and now y’all are trying to go where God directs with all this weight and baggage and STUFF He never told You to bring on this journey.
I truly believe—sometimes—the best way to reach those closest to You, is to follow God. Let Your life be their testimony.
Are You a servant of this world, or Christ? It’s a simple question, and we may reply, “Jesus”, but our actions scream, “the world!”
“Now do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the one I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I wanted to please people, I would not be a servant to Christ.” – Galatians 1:10 (ERV)
Recently, I’ve had the idea to start a new novel series. I was so excited about it, but deeply troubled too. You see, the new series is not African-American Christian fiction; it’s a Christian novel with mainly Caucasian characters. Why did that bother me? I’ve published four books—by the grace of God—and all of them are centered around African-American characters. Furthermore, I’ve got this following from readers who look like and identify with those characters. And then there are the discussion boards on this vast world wide web, full of authors and readers who feel like African-American authors who write Caucasian novels are selling-out. Talk about troubled. I battled that fitting-in-bug for a minute. But it wasn’t until I was talking to a supportive author friend that God hit me with the truth—right from my own mouth:
I WRITE TO GLORIFY HIM.
Novels are just the medium, but the words, the storyline, the redemption; the entire thing brings God glory. And truth is, His kingdom isn’t full of ALL black, white, brown, purple, or any other color of people. It’s full of souls. On this earth, I’m called to be the light, not just to black people or white people. So if God gives me an idea to write about an Indonesian woman who comes to know Him, without a doubt I will do as I’m led.
You have to do the same. Forget about what the world says, praises, and accepts, and follow God. The place God is calling You—the thing God is telling You to do—is much bigger than the opinions of people who don’t wake You up everyday, supply all of Your needs, and offer You salvation. See the bigger picture here?
Next to the thoughts of Your family/friends and the world, are Yours, the doubt that creeps into Your mind. Or it may be the fear that’s held You captive for so long. Any thought that You have, which would hold You back from doing what God has called You to do, You have to let go.
Think about Peter walking on the water towards Jesus. He only sank when he began to fear. When we start thinking about how walking on water is impossible in our own might; when we start thinking about the things of this world that could possibly sink us (winds and waves), our faith becomes weak and we sink. We must focus on Jesus. (Matthew 14:28-31)
Doubt can be equated to fear. The Bible says, “For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” – James 1:6 (HCSB)
Jesus is telling us that the impossible in our own might is possible by focusing on—and trusting in—Him. We have to believe that as He guides us in one step, there will be provision there, and the next step, and so on. Walking on water is possible when we remember who told us to do it in the first place.
Today, I hope You take sometime to briefly think about the thing(s) God told You to do. Remember the place God told You to go—or stay. And be obedient—despite the opinions of the world and Your flesh. There’s so much peace, love, provision, and guidance waiting and available to You, if You would just have the faith and courage to take the first step in obedience.
My Short Testimony:
I was a professional basketball player—and a big contributor for my team in Spain a little over a year ago. This past December, I had various teams reach out, asking me to come play for them. We’re talking some cool places: Czech Republic, Denmark, amongst a few others. I politely declined every offer because I trusted God and I knew I was doing what He told me to do—write and rest. People looked at me like I was crazy to turn those offers down, like I was making the wrong decision. Yes, even my family. But what looks right to the world can be the wrong choice in the Lord. Good opportunities are cool, but God direction and opportunities are BETTER. Remember, You live with the consequences of the decisions You make. When Your choices reflect other peoples opinions, You live with the outcome and not them. My decision reflected what God told me to do, and I have never experienced such joy, peace, and comfort—not to mention that Philippians 4:12 contentment—, in my life.
Go where God tells You to go. Do what God tells You to do. And remember, everyone can’t go where Your going, but You being obedient and getting on Your bus, may encourage them to get on theirs—in God’s perfect timing.
I’m praying for You to be obedient as GOD directs You.