This is a guest post by Ashley Lampkins:
“Waiting on the Lord” is almost considered an extra spiritual gift in Christian circles. Now hear me out, there are times when the Lord calls us to very specific seasons of waiting. I trust that you will know when you are in that, because of wise counsel and being in the Word.
But I believe we “wait on the Lord” in more areas than He wants us to sometimes. It’s becoming our new flippant and overused phrase, when we don’t know how to answer someone or are paralyzed from analysis.
Oh, I don’t want to make a decision right now, because I’m waiting on the Lord.
I’m not sure I can help, because I need to hear from the Lord.
What we are really doing is just delaying our obedience, because we start to take the Lord’s graciousness and goodness for granted.
It took a little phrase from a third grade Bible curriculum on the story of Abraham to convict me on the issue.
“Delayed obedience is disobedience.”
Ouch. Even after I said it to my third graders, they had that look on their face like they had just got hit with some truth. They came up with a myriad of examples where they delayed their obedience. After seeing it written on my board for a week or so, nagging me and looming in the distance, I finally realized I think there are some areas we delay our obedience. Or I know I do. And frankly, it’s just disobedience.
Here are a few times when waiting isn’t the spiritual virtue we tout, but is disobedience:
1) When you don’t use your spiritual gifts…
The Lord has placed us all here divinely in 2016. If you are a believer, then you were given spiritual gifts to fulfill the Great Commission at this time. Period. The problem is oftentimes, most believers don’t use their gifts. They wait.
We wait for the perfect opportunity to come along and use it, instead wasting divine opportunities along the way. We wait, because we don’t know what our gifts are. We wait, because we think there are enough other people already doing it, and that we’re not needed.
Guess what? There is no perfect opportunity. You have a spiritual gift. We can help you find it. And there are far from enough people jumping in and working for the Lord. There are too few actually.
There are so many things to be done to further the kingdom and spread the Gospel around this earth. Romans 12:6a says, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let use them…” If you don’t have an urgency to get involved, then start now. There are:
Homeless people to be fed and sheltered.
Sex Trafficking victims to be rescued.
Unsaved people groups to be given the Gospel.
Church nursery kids to be held and played with.
Truthful and encouraging blogs to be written.
Admin work to be organized and done quickly.
Stop waiting. Find somewhere to get involved. Don’t delay your obedience in using your gifts.
2) When you don’t repent of sin…
We all ask the Lord to forgive us, or at least most of the time. But when? How long did it take you? Sin is vicious. It takes a lot of self-reflection to see when we do it and a lot of humility to repent of it. In my mind, that’s a lot of hard work and I’ll be honest that sometimes, I don’t want to put in all that work. Or I’ll just wait a good long time to really come before the Lord with certain sin issues because of my pride. I wait, because I know the Lord loves me nonetheless and, in doing so, I delay my obedience.
I realized this was happening in my own life with another person. It was a scenario in which, for various reasons, I was hurt and angry at them. I also couldn’t choose to not have them in my life anymore; it was a person whom, because of family circumstance, that I was bound to be around. When people would ask me how I was doing, I’d say, “I hate them and I’m really hurt. I know I need to forgive them, but I can’t right now, so I’m waiting.” Bitterness and unforgiveness were seeping into my heart. The Lord in his kindness and mercy was leading me to repentance, but I chose to disobey. I knew it was wrong and I just did not want to repent and start loving the person like Jesus did.
Paul says in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” I can’t say it any better. We are not called to wait in our sin and wait to come before the Lord and repent, because of his loving kindness. The Lord wants us to hear His voice when He calls for our obedience and to act on it now.
Is there is something in your life now that you know is sin and have not come before the Lord to ask for forgiveness? What are you waiting for? He’s waiting. Don’t delay your obedience.
3) When you don’t do that ridiculous thing the Lord is asking you to do….
Maybe you just read that one and said to yourself, “I don’t think God has asked me to do anything ridiculous lately.”
Well, He probably has. Everyone’s “ridiculous thing” is going to look different. Is yours walking up to that homeless person and praying with them? Is it inviting your neighbor to church? Is it selling all your things and going to serve overseas? Is it loving and respecting your husband without anything in return? Is it fasting for that situation to see answered prayer? Is it raising your hands in worship? Is it sharing the Gospel boldly without apology to that person with whom you’ve been skirting the topic in conversation?
Mine was resigning from my job to pursue more of my calling, with nothing lined up. Even as I type it now it still sounds ridiculous. But I knew the Lord was pulling me out of the ministry I was a part of, for something else. To say that it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made, would be an understatement. I considered it my second home. I was known and comfortable there. I wanted to delay my obedience. I kept going back and forth. “One more year, Lord,” knowing that my time there would have still been blessed by Him. What I was really doing was delaying my obedience in something He was asking me to do now, and that was disobedience.
Jesus calls us to live out a ridiculous faith of trusting and walking out by faith with immediate obedience. We can see countless examples of this in Scripture.
Mary anyone? A young virgin mother bearing the Son of God. What about Moses? A stuttering man chosen to lead a nation out of slavery. And let’s not forget Jesus using broken sinful disciples to heal and preach the Good News. That’s just naming a few.
There will be many times that our immediate obedience to the Lord comes with days of doubt, worrisome looks when we tell others, straight out rejection from others, being humbled, fear of failure, and even loneliness. But God. Isn’t that the best phrase ever? But God will honor your obedience. He sees you walking out in faith and trusting Him when you choose to not delay.
When you don’t delay in using the gifts He gave you, you get to bless others and further His kingdom.
When you don’t delay in repentance, you get to experience His sweet kindness and love that leads you to that place.
When you don’t delay in doing that ridiculous thing that He asks you to do, you get to experience what thousands of believers have before you, of being able to walk out in full, unabandoned faith and trust in a secure God.
When I closed my Abraham unit with my students, where this phrase all started, I asked my students one question: What we can learn about God’s character from reading the story of Abraham? A girl in the back raised her hand and said, “Sometimes God asks you to do something ridiculous and you just have to obey, because He knows best and it will always work out for your good.”
Well said, nine-year-old. Because He does and it will most definitely all work out for your good when we obey immediately.
Ashley Lampkins currently resides (for a few more weeks) in Chicago, IL before she moves to the land of country music and biscuits and gravy galore of Nashville, TN. She is a teacher at heart, whether it be to 8 year olds in a classroom or women hungry for the Word of God sitting in her living room. When she’s not teaching, Ashley is known to have a chai in one hand and a chocolate cupcake in the other, dreaming up new adventures, learning a new presidential history fact, and spending quality time laughing with those she loves. You can find her at @ashleylampkins via Instagram and Snapchat and follow along on her next adventure to the south.