My devotional reading this morning got me thinking about something that quite honestly, I hadn't really given much though to in the past.
If you aren't going through the 100 day devotional Take It Too Far by Jess Connolly, I highly recommend that you do. It has asked some questions of me so far (and I am on day 19) that have really challenged my previous way of thinking and behaving and prompted some of my best journaling because I get to answer those questions and God reveals so much to me when I allow Him to show up and transform my heart.
Today talked about being tenacious. Many consider this to mean boldness so I looked up the actual definition of tenacious and this is what it said according to the New Oxford American Dictionary:
Tenacious: adjective- tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely; not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined; persisting in existence; not easily dispelled.
I think I might include the word tenacious more in my every day speech because, wow, that is a great word! I love the dictionary and the thesaurus, especially if I am stuck on trying to write out the best words to paint a picture or a story. Such great resources, even if it perhaps does label me as a nerd. I am okay with it. I will wear my nerd badge proudly #himyfellowwordnerds
Anyway, the devotional asked some really tough questions of me as to whether I understood the difference between tenacity and obedience. I think a lot of us get it confused, including me, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you as to what God has been teaching me lately.
Obedience has been key in my walk lately, and walking in obedience is one of the toughest parts of being a follower of Christ. Of course, most of us would quickly say "well, if we love God it is easy to obey."
Listen, I don't care who you are, or how much you love someone, obedience is just hard. None of us really enjoy submitting ourselves to another or being what to do by another. Remember, we battle with our minds in the flesh the most. Are you married? Do you instantly just do whatever your hubby tells you to do with a lovey "yes, my darling?"
No. No you do not. And if you do....well, good for you. You are special. But the majority of us do not like being told what to do and it takes a great deal of humility and swallowing of pride for us to submit ourselves to do what another asks of us. Who knows, maybe that is why I am single now. Ha!
Let's look at what is commanded of us in Scripture. Most of us are incredibly familiar with the Great Commission in Matthew 28. In case you are not familiar, it reads:
"Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed the. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has ben given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
That was not a request that Jesus made to his remaining disciples. it as a command. Jesus was now ascending to heaven with His Father, and He had instructed his followers to tell everyone about the good news. To tell everyone about Jesus, what they saw, heard and the truth of Jesus's death, burial and resurrection and then baptize them in the faith. This was Jesus commanding them to begin the work and he commanded their obedience.
They weren't be bold in telling the nations about Jesus, just like it isn't bold or tenacious that we tell others about Jesus. We do this because of obedience. However, we are tenacious about the truth. There's the difference. We can hold firm to the truths and the promises of God and of the gospel, which therefore then compels our obedience because we believe that God is who He says He is, so we will obey and tell others about Him.
I recently shared a video on my facebook page about Mike Lindell, the creator of MyPillow, who spoke at the White House front lawn after his company was recognized for restructuring their warehouse in order to manufacture masks for the healthcare workers so that they could continue to fight on the front lines of Covid-19. What is bold about Mr. Lindell is that I am sure this is costing him a great deal of money in terms of his business. I am sure he counted the cost, to see if he could even do anything to help the medical professionals be able to do their job, while keeping his own doors open and still being able to pay his employees. Most people do not understand how basic economics and businesses work, so I think it is important here to point out that Mr. Lindell, and every CEO who is donating their resources, space, and business to the cause, has to take into account his/her own bottom line and what is available to them. They know, probably better than most, that money doesn't just come from nowhere.
If you know Mr. Lindell's story, you know that it is truly a powerful redemption story of a guy who was addicted to drugs and was homeless, to becoming a man of great faith and a millionaire. I highly recommend you read up on him and be encouraged and reminded that no matter where you are or what you have done, God isn't finished with you yet.
When I posted that video of Mr. Lindell and his call to action to our nation to return to God, bring back God in our public schools, to pray with our families and love our children and read our bibles, I encouraged my facebook friends to be this bold.
What I also want to tell you and my friends is this: Be THIS OBEDIENT.
See, while the rest of the world, including me, initially saw his speech as boldness, God is now showing me that it was first and foremost obedience. Mr. Lindell has the tenacity to believe so wholeheartedly in the scriptures, in the promises of God, and evidenced by his own story of how God saved his life, he then went forward in obedience to tell the nations about Jesus. To implore a nation to change direction and look to our Heavenly Father.
I want to be that obedient. I want to have the audacity and boldness to believe in the truths of Scripture and cling to the promises of God so firmly, that I am compelled to obey. Not forced. Not coerced, but compelled because of what I believe is to be true. I know that the promises and the hope is so real for me, that I believe them to be true and real for everyone else. I don't care if you are an atheist right now.
I fully believe Jesus died on the cross for you too. It is up to you to choose to believe it. But I will constantly shout it from the rooftops about the hope and peace that is only found in Jesus.
Be this obedient, friends. Decide to today to tenaciously cling to His promises and the truth, then obey.