Obedience In, Joy Out

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“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.”

1 Corinthians 3:6

When we start expecting certain results from our obedience to God, then we set ourselves up for discouragement and disappointment. God’s economy doesn’t work in a paradigm of effort in - reward out. In the paradigm of hearing and obeying everything rests on love and intimacy.

If we expect certain results from our labour, we are limiting God and his work. Our minds can only comprehend a few of the possibilities that are available to God. He is not bound by time, space, or resources. There is no sacred/secular divide for God. God desires to be part of every moment, and that is why hearing and obeying is part of the way we live as disciples, and not something restricted to a moment in our devotional time.

So how should we view our efforts if we are trying to let go of the results? Our efforts to hear and obey are an act of worship. Our efforts are a faithful act of our will (remember the servants with the talents). Our efforts to hear and obey bring God joy, and the “joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) The ‘try harder-get more results’ equation doesn’t work in God’s economy; but the humble hear and obey, “that he (God) may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

Action: Reflect on the what results you expect from God. Put your hands in front of you, palms up. In a conscious act, release those expectations back to the Lord.

Prayer: Jesus I thank you that you hear my prayers and that you delight in giving good gifts to your children. Jesus I acknowledge your sovereignty over all things. I offer my obedience to you as an act of worship, regardless of the outcomes. May you be glorified. Amen.

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About the author

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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.

The Tapestry Church (Richmond, BC)

Series: Hearing and Obeying—Devotionals

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