Slow Obedience: A Doggone Lesson

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“Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.” Psalm 143:10

“I don’t know what’s going on with you Gracie,” I told one of my precious ministry dogs one morning.

She had been dumped at a gas station years ago, hit by two cars on the same day, and by the time she was finally rescued six weeks later, her broken bone had already set in place.

Sure, she was slightly disabled, sometimes a little uncomfortable perhaps in her unusual gait, but how hard could it be to get up off the massive dog bed she shared with her bodies and walk the 1.5 feet over to the dog crate? She got up so slowly she barely got up, and then went into even more slow motion as she looked like she might in about a zillion years reach the crate.

She wasn’t being held back by her disability. She wanted to stay where she was comfortable and not go where she was being sent.

“That’s not very good,” I told Gracie. “A little slow on the uptake.”

Ouch. There it was. Conviction. And the message. For me. For you. For anyone the Lord desires to read and hear this.

Gracie made it look like she would eventually do the right thing, but she was dragging her feet. Making it look like she was pleasing me by obeying me, but her very countenance, her sweet shy eyes, her slow motion movement, and the fact what should have taken about 5 seconds still wasn’t close to being done made it perfectly clear.

Gracie knew she would ultimately need to come into compliance with me. To obey at the end. She also knew there would be consequences if she didn’t obey me. But she made plain and clear she wanted desperately to hold onto where she was and would move in the right direction as slowly as she possibly could. She wanted to get away with anything she could – even if that meant nothing more than a delay in obedience. Slow obedience. And I wasn’t too pleased about it.

Sound familiar? Here’s my confession. Even when I have every intention of ultimately obeying the Lord, sometimes I resist Him on the way, preferring to stay where I am rather than going where He is sending me or doing what He is calling me to do or changing what He is telling me to change. And it’s hard for me to believe this kind of “obedience” pleases God. In fact, I believe wholeheartedly it does not please Him in the least. Nor do I believe it is honoring to God. To Jesus. To the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To the Lord Jesus Christ.

Is God’s will just about His will? NO! Or is it also about His timing? Is it also about complete surrender? Total yielding? Entire submission? YES! Not contingent on our ways, wishes, and wants. Contingent on the fact JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, and we need to live our lives accordingly – right down to the timing of His will and to our attitudes in doing His will. Not resisting Him, but lovingly, humbly, following the Spirit of God as He leads us forth.

Some of us need to leave the slow obedience behind. Myself included. Let’s strive continually to submit entirely to Christ! Total obedience. In His timing. With humble loving hearts. ALL FOR HIS GLORY, AMEN!

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