Responding is item #7 on My Top 10 List. After submitting, worshipping, meeting with God through His Word and prayer, listening to what He is speaking, and integrating His words and revelations into your body, soul and spirit, it is time to respond – to obey or to act. From the Old Testament:
Psalm 119:34 (NLT) “Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.”
In the New Testament, believers and followers by faith in Christ who have the indwelling Holy Spirit are instructed as follows:
James 2:14, 17, 26 (NLT) “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?.. . faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless… Just as the body is dead without breath, so also is faith dead without good works.”
In parenting, you know that your children have truly listened and received your instructions when you see them responding to those instructions. In the military, the officer in charge looks for obedience to instructions. Our Abba Father in heaven expects the same from us, His warriors and children who are adopted through expressed belief and faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. He is looking for the fruit – the acts of obedience – of our faith that has enabled us to hear Him clearly.
I remember a day years ago when my boys were little that I had a sudden urge to make a huge pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. I mean a HUGE pot. Even as I was preparing the meal, I questioned my sanity about the amount of food I was cooking. A bit later, the Lord prompted me to call a friend. Her husband answered the phone and I asked if they might like some soup for dinner. He responded that his wife, my friend, was sick and had just told him the only thing that sounded good was chicken noodle soup! I was thankful that I had responded to the Lord’s direction to me even though it made little sense at the time I chose to respond. Warriors, it is beneficial to keep your focus on the Lord.
A warrior’s response isn’t required just for the sake of being busy. The Lord often reminds me of the acronym for “busy” – “being under Satan’s yoke”. What the Lord is looking for is an appropriate response or action to what He is asking of us. That response may be to wait on Him and to rest in Him, it may be to praise Him, it may be to read His Word, it may be to minister to someone through a word of encouragement or providing a meal or other act of kindness, it may be to write… He is looking for an attentiveness and a focus on Him. He wants to be prioritized in your life!
Deuteronomy 32:21 (NLT) “They have roused my jealousy by worshiping things that are not God; they have provoked my anger with their useless idols.”
Revelation 21:27 (NLT) “Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty – but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
What is an idol? Anything that is more important to you than the Lord. It could be your family, your career, your ministry, your possessions, your reputation, your intellect, your physique, etc. None of these things are inherently evil. In fact, they may be gifts to you from the Lord! But they become idols if they are a higher focus and greater love in your life than the Lord. Do you hold on too tightly to them? Do you boast about them? Do you revere them?
Jeremiah 9:23 (NLT) “This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches. But those who boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD have spoken!”
2 Corinthians 10:17 (NLT) “As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
When you consider all that the Lord has done and Who He is, boasting about Him naturally flows from you. Pause, warrior, and consider Him, and then boast about Him to someone. You can be assured that He will be smiling :).