As chapter two came to a close on that perfect cool and sunny afternoon in the forest, I couldn’t help but glance at the title of chapter three—“More Than Listening”. I felt a quickening in my heart and knew it was God.
I’m a writer, not a speaker. It’s difficult for me to verbalize my thoughts, especially in a group. Thus, I do way more listening than speaking in group settings and in particular, my small group. God said, “You have to do more than just listen; you have to give back something to the group.” I found myself eager to jump ahead and read what the rest of the chapters were named. It always excites me when God speaks, and I wanted to know more. I felt another quickening in my heart—“Wait. One step at a time.” So I closed the book and made my way back home.
As I walked, I felt a third quickening—share my blog with my group. I immediately rejected the idea out of fear. Then I remembered 2 Timothy 1:7–God has not given us a spirit of fear. A few days later, after praying and careful consideration, I obeyed.
This reminded me of a time not so long ago when I chose to be obedient despite my fear—when God told me to start this blog to begin with. I flat out said “no” at first. I told myself I wasn’t good enough, that I would run out of things to write about, that no one would care what I had to say—none of which were true. My blog is the fruit, a true gift of obedience.
Today, I began chapter three and was eager to read what exactly Sam Allberry meant by “more than listening”.
We as Christians must learn to not just be hearers of the word but doers. We have to master obedience. When we hear the word “obedience”, we tend to think of restriction and a lack of freedom. The reality is that we simply have a distorted perception of what freedom truly is. Freedom is thriving in an environment we were built for. God’s Word is full of wisdom, and so much of what He tells us to do is for our own protection. When parents tell their children not to touch a hot stove or play in the street, it’s not freedom that’s been taken away but protection that’s been given—protection from pain and death. When God tells us to turn from our sin, He is trying to protect us from those very same things.
Obedience is a product of honor, of trust, of faith. When we obey God, we are living out our faith.