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Seeds of the Kingdom

A Willing and Obedient Heart

by Tanya Person

21 November 2021

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“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;”
Isaiah 1:19, NIV

Many years ago, when my husband and I attended a mission class, one sentence the teacher said has always stuck with me. It was, “God can do amazing things with a willing and obedient heart.”

I’ve been pondering this lately and wondering how often we obey out of a sense of duty, but not willingly. Or maybe we are willing, but then find excuses for not obeying. I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to check my own attitude.

There are many reasons why we may struggle to obey willingly, but it seems to be connected with trust. When you trust that you are hearing God’s voice, when you trust Him that He will lead you into what is best for you, then it is so much easier to willingly obey. God doesn’t promise that everything will be easy, but He does promise to ‘work everything together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purposes’ (Romans 8:28).

The refrain of the old hymn, ‘Trust and Obey’, comes to mind. ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’ The last verse of that song says, ‘Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey’.

It may seem frightening, but this really is the key to living a life of peace and joy and abundance! That trust grows through relationship. It’s not through our effort, but by spending time together.

Think about the Israelites. They were rescued from slavery in Egypt in a mighty way. The sea parted for them to walk through. They were fed in the desert miraculously. They were led to the edge of the promised land. If they had been willing and obedient, they would have gone right in and eaten the good of the land. Instead, they let fear come in and decided they would be better off back in Egypt, so that whole generation died off in the desert and didn’t get to experience all the good that God had in store for them.

Where are you today? How is your heart? Do you know what God is asking you to do? (If you don’t, take a moment to ask Him and wait for an answer.) Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed with fear and holding back from what He’s telling you to do. Maybe you are willing but procrastinating. Perhaps you are obeying, but grudgingly. Let’s take a moment to weigh our hearts and see where we are. Then, let us take it to the Lord in prayer. You might like to use the following prayer to help you get started.

Prayer: Lord, search my heart and show me what is there. I know that You will bless me if I am willing and obedient. Sometimes I find myself doubting and not trusting. Help me to know You more so that I can really trust You with all my heart. Help me to know deep inside that You have only good for me, even if it means giving up something that I want or going through difficulties. I want to obey You with a willing heart. I give You my fear. I give You my will. I choose today to listen for Your leading and to obey with joy. Amen.

Tanya Person Tanya and her husband, Jim, were missionaries to Hungary for over 18 years. They have worked with Ellel since 2005. After serving in various positions with Ellel in Central and Eastern Europe, God led them back to the United States, where they are now serving with the Ellel USA team. They have a passion to see leaders restored, the church discipled and walking in God’s fullness of life and freedom, and for mentoring the existing and developing team. Tanya also enjoys crocheting and knitting in her free time and has written some children’s picture books.


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