This challenge from my college professor (Kelly O’Rear) has guided me for 19 years. Most Christians understand this conceptually, but few in practice. When God lays on our heart an opportunity to serve him, something as simple as sharing the gospel or something as life altering as going into foreign missions, our answer needs to be “yes”, not “I’ll try” or “I’ll do it if _____”.
“I’ll try”: The paths that God leads us down will involve difficulty and discomfort. There will be days we don’t enjoy the ministry. There will be days when other things sound more enticing. When we say “I’ll try”, what we mean is this: “if there comes a point when I am not comfortable or happy then I am taking control”. We haven’t surrendered complete control when we are just “trying it out”. God wants our answer to be “yes”, not “I’ll try”.
I’ll do it if _____”: When we put stipulations on our obedience we rarely take the first step to follow God’s leading. We are like the plane that never gets off the runway. If we only obey God’s leading when it fits into our plans, who is really in control? We are. We will obey if it is convenient and comfortable for us to do so. When “if” is our answer, we miss out on many opportunities to be used by God. God is searching for those whose hearts are completely his. He will simply pass us by and give the opportunity to someone who is willing to obey without question. God wants our answer to be “yes, not “I’ll do it if _____”.
When our family first began our path towards missions and said “yes” to a blank job description, I didn’t realize how often I would have to re-say “yes”! Going through ministry, we face many crossroads with one easy path and another far more difficult. The difficult one leads into uncertainty, but deep down you know it is the one God wants for you. Over and over, we must say “yes” before He has ever spoken, before we know what lies hidden in the fog of uncertainty. One thing is true: God’s path is never easy, but it is always best.
Many of the paths God has called us down I would have never chosen for myself, but in the end, I would never trade them either! God’s way is always best.
Whether you are just beginning your journey of following God, or whether you have been following him for years, today, in whatever He calls you to do, “let your answer be ‘yes’ before God has ever spoken!”