I have been discipled since July of 2010. I can't believe that it has been almost 7 years since I began this journey of not just gaining knowledge about Jesus, but to apply it to my every day life...that there must be action...fruit of what I am learning as I read the Bible.
It has been hard over the years. I am naturally an introvert, so I don't like putting myself out there...afraid of rejection...afraid people will analyze me. But in the last several months, the Lord has been working in me...changing me...building a confidence in me.
Just before Christmas, I was running an errand and saw this gentleman sitting by an empty store front with a backpack and a couple of grocery bags filled with some belongings. As I walked by him, he caught my attention. The Lord reminded me of the bags in the back of the van that we made a few days before for anyone we saw who was struggling with homelessness. I felt the Lord leading me to go get a bag and bring it to this man. I continued on into the store and told the Lord that I didn't think it was a good idea to give a bag because I didn't know 100% that this gentleman was homeless...and I didn't want to offend this guy while trying to love him like Jesus. I went about my shopping and paid for my items. As I was walking back to the car, I see this gentleman again. And very clearly, I hear the Lord say to go get one of the bags out of the van and bring it to this gentleman. I knew in that moment I had a choice...I was either going to obey or disobey. I continued walking back to the van and put my stuff in it. I went to the back of the van and got a bag. I took a moment to pray. I told the Lord I was willing to go, but I need Him to give me the words to say. I took a deep breath, shut the door and walked over to this gentleman. The whole way over to him, I just kept praying..asking the Lord to use me as he saw fit. Finally, I am standing in front of this gentleman. I hold the bag straight out in front of me. I explained to him that as I was walking into the store I felt the Spirit leading me to bring him this bag of items. I asked him if he wanted the bag. He nodded his head and reached out and grabbed it. Then he proceeded to say how much he appreciated the fact that I had brought him this bag of items. I asked him if he knew who Jesus was and he told me he did. (In my mind I was thinking, "Who has taken control of me?" because this is NOT my normal approach...ever!) I then went on to explain that I was giving him this bag because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross. I shared with him the church we attend and invited him to come for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service. I told him that he was more than welcome to come worship with us anytime he was in the neighborhood.
On the way home, I just praised Jesus for giving me the courage to obey in this situation. I don't struggle with obeying when it is something I am comfortable with...like watching kiddos for friends, inviting people into my home, cooking a meal. But this situation was COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. I prayed that the Lord would water whatever seed was planted that day.
I write this blog post to say that even though I have been discipled for almost 7 years and have discipled many ladies over the years, I am still growing...I am still being stretched...I still have moments when I struggle with obedience. But over the last couple of weeks as I reflect on this day, I am more and more convinced that obedience requires action. Obedience is action. I can't just read the Bible week after week with my discipler and not apply what He is teaching me. I can't read the Bible week after week with the ladies that I disciple telling them that they need to obey as the Spirit leads them even if it makes them uncomfortable and not do it myself.
So as a new year has started, I am listening for those opportunities that He lays before me. I pray that in those moments when I feel out of my comfort zone that my immediate response will be an obedient action instead of explaining to the Lord why it isn't a good idea or why it won't work. I pray that I will remember: