Circumstances

Decoration image for quotation

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

– Matthew 11:28

Sometimes we have selective hearing. We pick and choose what we hear, and subsequently obey, based on our circumstances. From this point, this devotional could go a bunch of different ways but today I want to ask you to consider the tension between hearing and doing, and hearing and waiting – the issue of timing.

It seems to be a common human desire to exert control over our circumstances. If we see a problem, we may try to fix it, or try to run from it. Following the path of obedience to the Holy Spirit means that we must face down both these impulses, so we are sure that we have given space to the timing of the Holy Spirit and the Lordship of Jesus.

The new church of Antioch was having a good run. Momentum was building as the disciples reached out with the gospel of Jesus. The church was growing, it would be understandable to get caught up in the busyness, but before acting the believers worshipped and listened together, then this happens: “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them (Saul and Barnabas) and sent them off.” (Acts 13:3) In this case the listening led to doing. Doing was the obedient action.

Waiting is often harder than doing. Consider another account from Paul’s life. He is a prisoner and has been on a boat, caught in a storm for fourteen nights. The crew are physically and mentally exhausted. Hope is gone and some think escaping the boat is the best plan, but God speaks, and Paul explains to the crew, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31) More hopelessness. More helplessness. Eventually, the ship runs aground and is destroyed, but no-one dies. Waiting was the obedient action.

Whichever is your default, either action or waiting, consider how you welcome Jesus to interact with your circumstances and decisions. Know that Jesus’ Lordship is not oppressive, but he wants you to have “life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Action:
Consider how you can listen to Jesus’ leading, even in the mundane and routine parts of your life.


Prayer:
Jesus, I want you to be Lord of my life. Please help me to hear you above the pressure of my circumstances. Help me to act when you say act and to wait when you say wait. Thank you for giving me your wisdom generously.

Share this page

About the author

Profile photo for John Hall

In 1997 John Hall, his wife Wei, and brother in-law started Eco Outdoor Sports in Metro Vancouver. In 2003 the business was sold, and his family entered a seven-year ‘desert experience’. During that time the Lord impressed on John and his family the importance of hearing and obeying Jesus every day, something that he tries to integrate into everything he does. In 2010 God changed the family’s direction and led him to finish his degree at Regent College in preparation for life as a full-time missionary overseas. That ministry opportunity didn’t develop as planned, as a whole new perspective and participation-in Christ’s mission was born at Missions Fest Vancouver. It’s now a daily occurrence for John’s business background and theological training to get a workout.

John served as the Executive Director at Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) from 2014 to April 2023.

John and Wei live in Richmond, BC. They have two wonderful adult girls. John completed his MA at Regent College in 2010.

Church
Church
The Tapestry Church (Richmond, BC)

Series: Hearing and Obeying—Devotionals

See all Read more...
Devotional

Count the Cost

Have you counted the cost of being a disciple? Go to Jesus, lay out your concerns before him, and ask for his perspective on your struggle. Read more Read more...

Devotional

Love Your Enemies

If you have an enemy in your life, if someone hates you, consider how Jesus is asking you to go to them? Hearing and obeying requires embodied action. Read more Read more...

Devotional

Holiness and Obedience

Our goals, the accumulation of power, and things that we spend so much time on may have less importance than we may be willing to admit. Read more Read more...

Devotional

Idols and Mighty Deeds

God desires that he is the only one to whom we direct our worship, and one of the reasons is so that His power can be demonstrated in our lives. Read more Read more...

More on Mission Central

Article

It Can Be Done

Isolation may lead to God revealing Himself in deep new ways. Read more Read more...

Mission Resource

WEA Mission Commission

WEA Mission Commission is a platform for multi-cultural voices to advance God’s mission. Read more Read more...

Article

Is there Anyone with the spirit of the Holy Gods in them?

My conviction is that God is raising up a new generation of Daniels. God is mobilizing the church for a new wave of mission. Read more Read more...

Article

Eighteen Barrels and Two Big Crates

How and why our “stuff” gets in the way of our witness. Read more Read more...

Interview

Tell Us Your Why with Sandeep Jadhav (Part 1 and Part 2)

Learn more about Sandeep Jadhav's heart behind mission and how God has moved behind his "WHY" Read more Read more...

Devotional

Righteous Bubble

I confess that I am Jonah. I move into my safe bubble to watch what God will do to those who deserve his righteous punishment. Read more Read more...

Article

Life with God in a Different Land

Defining Mission and Life with God in South Asia and Cross-Cultural Missions Read more Read more...

Article

Power and Discipleship

Jesus chose complete obedience to his Father’s authority and displayed an upside-down way of understanding power. Read more Read more...