As you seek God more in your everyday life, you will begin to hear God more. You will become more and more aware of the promptings of his spirit, which are like little nudges in specific directions. For me, promptings of the spirit aren’t audible words spoken for my ears to hear, but more so a knowing deep within from a thought that completely bypassed my own thought process.
It’s that thought of, “I need to call that person right now”, when I wasn’t even thinking of them. It’s that “hey, slow down right here and look around”, when my schedule really hasn’t allotted that time. It’s my heart beating fast saying, “jump”, when I’m naturally afraid of heights. It’s that little pinging in my gut that says, “this isn’t right”, when I want to ignore it and keep going. It’s a seemingly random vision when you weren’t even looking. It’s an old dream within your soul that gets revived again.
This is hearing God. This is being prompted by his Spirit.
Yes, it’s simple. Simple to hear and simple to ignore. Simple to follow and simple to dismiss.
But God is asking us to listen. He’s asking us to start responding. He’s asking us to bypass our thought process and allow him to hijack the communication between our head, our heart, and our feet. In two words, God is asking us for this: RADICAL OBEDIENCE.
Radical obedience is a willingness to go when you don’t know exactly where. A willingness to move into action when it doesn’t make sense. A willingness to trust the one who makes all things possible is speaking to you, and you respond with a YES.
What? You didn’t think he could speak to you? You thought he could part seas, but he couldn’t talk directly to you? You thought he could move mountains, but he couldn’t drop divine thoughts into your mind? You thought he could wipe out entire armies and clear battlefields, but you didn’t think he could possibly nudge you in the right direction?
Your radical obedience is a willing next step in response to God’s prompting without justification or understanding. It’s a total surrender of details for a shot at doing anything and everything the Almighty might ask of you. It’s bypassing what your human mind can understand and stepping into the Spirit world where nothing is impossible, and saying “God, I don’t understand, but I’m in!”
Yes, I will call that person right now. Yes, I will stay in the awkward silence and not run from it. Yes, I will turn that off right now. Yes, I will open that book and start reading right where you guide my finger. Yes, I will press play and listen. Yes, I will give. Yes, I will change that. Yes, I will dedicate this time to you. Yes, I will hit my knees. Yes, I will pray boldly over this.
And here’s what I’ve found in my short time of practicing this radical obedience. Sometimes it works. Sometimes you know immediately that’s exactly what you were supposed to do. It’s absolutely divine that God led you to hear that song, read those words, talk to that person, or walk through those doors, and you know it! I love those times. Immediate confirmation of your radical obedience. Uhmmmm, yes please.
But let’s talk about the other times. The times when you call because you feel prompted, then you feel like an idiot. The times when you boldly pray because you felt stirred, and the miracle you’re seeking is denied. The times when you step out with all the faith in the world, and that door is slammed in your face. You see, sometimes radical obedience works … and other times, it still works!
It never DOESN’T WORK.
Sometimes it’s immediately confirmed and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the answer is what you thought, and other times the answer is bigger than your human mind can fathom. The answer may look like a disappointment, but it’s actually just appointed higher than you can see. It’s beyond your reach in eternal workings.
But the truth is, when we step out in radical obedience and we go big with responding to what we believe God is prompting us with, and it appears like it didn’t work, we naturally begin to withdraw. We become more cautious. We’re less willing to step out. We’re more guarded with our big faith and opt for the more certain things. And let me tell you where those certain things take us … they take us to a little life far short of the BIG Life God created us for. We’re playing it safe because our radical obedience didn’t feel rewarded in the past.
Many years ago, my husband and I felt prompted by God to leave our successful business we had built in Dallas, and move to the deserts of El Paso to help start a church. We responded with radical obedience. We went. We went when it didn’t make sense. We went when we didn’t know the details. We went when we felt severely unqualified and unprepared. And we went totally believing God would radically bless our obedience with a supernatural rebuilding of our business and financial success.
Well, that didn’t quite end up working out the way we had imagined. Our radical obedience was met with nothing but struggle and hardship. We were eating shrimp flavored Ramen noodles and calling it our seafood feast. We could only afford to buy 2 school uniform shirts for our little boy, and one got ruined in the first week, so I washed laundry by hand to always keep a clean shirt for him. We did without. We sacrificed. We prayed. And I grew bitter. Bitter that God wouldn’t bless my radical obedience with radical blessings.
Had God not really prompted us to go? Had I misunderstood? Were we wrong in our willingness to follow? No. What I later understood was we moved to start a church that would fail. We moved to rebuild a business we would then walk away from. We moved to the desert to step into a greater plan than we could have ever imagined. This is where we stumbled upon an orphanage in Mexico where our two little girls would be. Here, I met my mentor that changed the trajectory of my life. Here God humbled me to teach me radical obedience is the greatest adventure I will ever experience.
Now there I was being disappointed and bitter because God’s promptings had taken me to a dry wasteland of struggle. There I was buckling down my faith and telling myself I would never respond to this nonsense of God’s spirit again because all it ever brought me was problems. And there was God aligning the greatest blessings for our family in response to our radical obedience that we were totally regretting.
Isn’t that like God?
Here’s the thing about living in radical obedience to an all-knowing, all-powerful God, IT ALWAYS WORKS. It either works in a way you can see immediately, it works in a way you can see later, or it works in a way you will see in eternity. It never fails.
The time you really stepped out in faith, and although you were highly uncomfortable, you responded to that ping in your Spirit and you prayed boldly for someone’s healing … then they died. Did you pray wrong? Did you not pray enough? Were you foolish to pray? Absolutely not. You did what God asked you to do, and it worked. It’s just working in a way you will see later or you will see in eternity instead of immediately.
I recently stepped out in radical obedience and did something totally unlike me. It was a prompting that was almost laughable. A thought that totally bypassed my rational thought process and landed right in my heart, and I was stirred. So without rationalization or understanding, I just did it.
And God is pleased. End of story.
How it works out right now is not my concern. I release the results into the hands of a mighty God who moved me with his. It worked. It totally worked. It worked the moment I responded in obedience.
And it worked for you too. Every single time you have acted in radical obedience to God’s prompting, it has worked.
2 Thessalonians 1: 11-12 “May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him.”
It doesn’t say God will be honored when everything works out perfectly for you. It doesn’t say God will be honored when you are wildly successful. It doesn’t say God will be honored when you were the one who prayed for the miracle and then the miracle happened. It says GOD WILL BE HONORED BECAUSE OF THE WAY YOU LIVE. The way he wants you to live is to do the things your faith prompts you to do!
It is your faith in action that honors God, not everything you do being successful immediately. It is your willingness to do the things God prompts you to do that honors him, not the strings you tie to the outcome.
If you went out of faith and it was a mess, God is honored that you went.
If you tried in obedience and you failed, God is honored that you tried.
If you believed with your whole heart and what you believed didn’t happen, God is honored that you believed.
When God prompts, he is honored when you respond in faith and leave the outcome to him.
Remember, sometimes it works. You see immediate confirmation with reasoning.
And sometimes it works, and you feel like a complete idiot in the process because the confirmation is hidden right now.
Other times it works, and every indication says it didn’t, but God holds eternity in his hands and his promptings NEVER fail to fulfill their full purpose.
So here’s to the girls just deciding they will be radically obedient, even when last time it didn’t look like it worked. Even when last time it was slightly embarrassing. Even when last time you walked away a little disappointed. Because this time, you know, it always works!
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