If you follow along on my various social media channels, you’re probably sick of hearing me say this by now. But humor me, because I’m about to say it one more time.
My word for 2018 is OBEDIENCE.
Now, let me tell you how that came about.
A couple months back, I was reading through Mark chapter one. Mark is one of the four gospel books in the Bible, but unlike Matthew or Luke, it does not start with the birth story of Jesus. Like the Gospel of John, Mark opens with the baptism of Jesus—and then it immediately goes into His temptation in the wilderness, then into His ministry.
Funny I should use the word “immediately,” because Mark uses this word too—a lot. Nine times in the first chapter alone, to be exact. As I was reading through, I started to notice it. It’s a little hard not to, seeing as each new development in the story employs this adverb as a descriptor. After maybe the fifth “immediately,” it started to get a little distracting even, so I decided to look into why the word is used so many times.
Turns out, as I gathered from poking around a few different online commentaries, there is a reason. I found that each gospel book seeks to highlight a different element of Jesus’ character. As for the Gospel of Mark, one of the things it seeks to highlight is the servanthood of Jesus—that He was here on earth not merely of His own accord, but on mission, to do the work of the Father. Mark’s repeated used of the word immediately is meant to create a sense of urgency—that there was a mission to accomplish and there was no time to waste.
I decided to look up the definition of the word immediately in the context of this chapter, and what it said was, “To do things properly and without allowing for delay.”
I think Mark emphasized immediately because he knows human nature. He knows what happens when God puts something on our hearts to do or asks us to step out in some way, and we give ourselves even the slightest room to hesitate—we start to overthink things (okay, maybe Mark at least knew MY nature).
When God puts something on my heart to do, more often than not my response more closely resembles something like this: But God, what are people going to think? But God, how are the logistics going to work out? But God, what if I don’t succeed? But God, how can I be sure this is YOU telling me to do it?
I allow space for hesitation and in that space for hesitation, I also inadvertently create room for fear and doubt to creep in. Before I know it, I’ve talked myself out of the very thing God has put on my heart to do. I’ve scaled back. I’ve tamed the idea because maybe it was just a little too “out there.”
But what Mark is trying to show us about Jesus, is that He didn’t question the Father’s will for Him. He just did it.
Jesus being a servant of God meant that He obeyed what God said. But I also think He was able to obey immediately because He recognized Himself as God’s servant—and I think that’s what enables us to obey when God asks us to do something as well. When we see ourselves as God’s servants there’s a shift from having to psychoanalyze whether or not we want to do something or if it will be good for us or if it will turn out okay, to seeing it’s not actually about us. It’s about God’s will and purposes being lived out IN us.
This passage spoke directly into something God had already been stirring in my heart: Can I trust Him to guide me, believing He knows best even if I can’t see how it’s all going to turn out? Am I willing to step out when He asks me to, even if it’s scary? This is what obedience asks of me. Ultimately, obedience is rooted in TRUST, that the One guiding me is guiding me into something GOOD.
One of things God was putting on my heart toward the end of last year was to start a YouTube channel, and when I came across this passage I knew I needed to stop delaying and step forward, so I did.
Starting a YouTube channel was scary and outside of my comfort zone, but I think when we continually shy away from things that are scary in favor of staying in our comfort zones, we end up restless and unfulfilled—because we were made for more. Each step of obedience we take brings us further and further from a life that is familiar and safe, but it simultaneously brings us further and further into a life that is fulfilling—because nothing will ever be more fulfilling than living boldly inside of God’s purposes for us.
Obedience isn’t limited to stepping forward even if it scares us. It’s also heeding God’s instruction even when it feels counterintuitive. It’s heeding God’s correction when we want to cling to our way. It’s choosing not to cut corners or compromise even when we think we know better in any of those things.
Essentially, obedience is rejecting the assumption we know what’s best for our lives and trusting the One who actually does.
That’s what this year is about for me—allowing God to guide and direct me rather than grasping for control. Stepping out when He tells me to step out, even when I can’t see the outcome and it scares me. Submitting myself to what Scripture says is the best way to live life.
Obeying, without delaying.
Walking in step with God is sort of like we’re zoomed in on a color by numbers picture. All we can see is the one little section we’re on. God might be telling us to paint it green even though we think this particular section would be better with pink. But the reality is, He knows what section is coming next and how this one is going to complement it—and we don’t. We don’t see the whole picture, but He does.
The foolproof way to live the most fulfilling life possible, is to submit ourselves in obedience to the instruction and direction of the One who created life in the first place. Rather than allowing fear and uncertainty to drive us to say, “But God?”, obedience allows us to look fear and uncertainty in the face and say “But, God.” Obedience does more than that too. Obedience is what paints the story of our lives into a masterpiece more beautiful than anything we could have drawn up on our own. It’s what allows our lives to become brilliant bursts of color in a world desperate for the Light.
I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on my first YouTube video! If you enjoy it, don’t forget to give the video a thumbs-up, leave a comment, and most importantly, SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel! Your support as I get started in this new adventure would seriously mean the world to me.
Special thanks to my friend Michael Cunningham of Cunning Aesthetics for taking the photos in this post.
Hello I’m Kaci!
I love encouraging and discipling others in the Word of God, and I really love the One it all points to: Jesus.
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Loving the YouTube addition to your blog And this was a good topic to start with because obedience is HARD when you have your own ideas on how life should go. Thanks for challenging us!
Ah that makes me so happy to hear, thank you! Agreed—obedience is tough, but ends up leading to so much LIFE! Thanks for the comment.
I love this!!!! I am a Youtuber as well, and starting a YT channel was by far one of the scariest "out there" things I’ve ever done. It’s so easy to forget that God has the roadmap and knows the purpose for what He asks us to do. Thank you for this awesome reminder! I never really noticed how often the word "immediatly" was used in Mark. That’s really interesting!! Thanks for sharing!! Your blog is such a blessing to me! 🙂
Right? Something about it feels so "out there"—but it’s been so fun so far! So cool you’re a YouTuber as well. I’ll have to find you and check out your channel. Thank you so so much for being a reader!
I needed this blog post, thank you 🙂
Aw I’m so glad! Thanks for reading.