Thursday, January 25, 2018

That first step

I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions.  He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. (Galatians 5:16 TLB)
"Oh, so NOW you tell me!"  Have you ever uttered those words AFTER you did something foolish and found yourself smack-dab in the middle of utter confusion, chaos, or calamity? "Yeah, I guess I have to admit, I wanted it REALLY bad." Maybe you have uttered those words, or similar, at the end of some "binge" that left you feeling a little bit "over-indulged". Most of us have those "moments" where we say to ourselves, "I should have known better...", but what we don't always realize is how much we could have avoided those "kick yourself in the seat of the pants" kind of moments by just listening (even a little bit) to begin with!
There are tons and tons of "advisers" in this thing called life. Some have official capacity such as boss, parent, or counselor. Other have influential capacity such as best friend, coworker, or media star. There are lots of influences that are "silent", coming at us in billboards, magazine articles, across the screens of our TVs, and the list could go on and on. Rest assured - God doesn't want us to be aimless. He wants us to have instruction - we might not always want to receive it, but he gives it to us nonetheless. The key to avoiding those "kick yourself" moments begins in listening, but it is motivated with the intent to obey.
As many will admit, intent is only a half-way answer to the obedience issue, though. There has to be some motivator, or something that encourages us to take the first step, then the second, third, and so on. When I had my knee replacement, that "first step" was pretty doggone painful, and there was more than a little fear behind that action. The moment I made up my mind to go for it, things were set in motion. Yes, it was agonizing at first, but the more I moved closer and closer to the edge of the bed, swinging that leg over to the floor, the more and more I realized the first step began with my will to move! 
Sometimes we have all the will to move us from one point to another, but we lack some type of encouragement to do it. As a nurse, I knew the worst thing for me was to just lay there in bed, leaving pressure on points it should not dwell, and creating a "stagnancy" in my lungs that could lead to pneumonia. Maybe my knowledge was a motivator. Maybe having surgery at a hospital were everyone under the sun knew me helped me be a little motivated. Perhaps it was the encouragement of my BFF. Or maybe it was that little voice that kept reminding me I was not taking that first step alone. 
Obedience is the first step in the right direction, not taken alone, but in union with the one who helps us know the right steps exist and they are the best ones for us to take! Obedience isn't an "alone" action, even when it feels like it is. It is always taken with intentional love moving us in that direction. Just sayin!