When I was about 19, it came to a point where I had a choice to make… Either God was real and I would follow Him wholly – or God wasn’t real and I would continue on the path that I was currently on… that of living for myself and doing whatever I wanted, whatever felt good.
I had been raised Adventist. I had “obeyed” the rules – and I’d even felt superior to others around me because I knew the truth.. I knew more than them. But I realized that my reason for obeying wasn’t because of any love for God. It was just what I’d always done, and it wasn’t even very good or consistent obedience… deep down I knew it was right, but I didn’t have a relationship with God.
So I had to make a choice; and if God was really real, then the only way was to serve Him with my whole heart… half-hearted commitment just didn’t make sense to me.
I pondered this question for a day or two. I thought of everything I’d ever learned about God. I thought of past experiences and I thought about the future. I prayed and read the Bible, and wrestled. In the end, I knew that everything I’d learned about God was real. He is a God of love, He has a plan, and He is coming back, and He wanted a relationship with me. So I decided that I would start saying, “Yes” to the things that He revealed to me.
This was not easy. I had many things that I loved that God started asking me to remove from my life. First it was certain types of music. God asked me to get rid of a lot of the music that I had. This wasn’t too hard as I’d never spent much time listening to music and I didn’t have a large collection.
The next thing God asked me to remove was movies. This was a bit harder, but God brought to my mind the verse in Philippians 4:8 that says:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I looked at the movies I had, and realized that the things they portrayed weren’t true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of a good report. They didn’t glorify God; in contrast they glorified the world and things that brought pain and heartache to people.
Then while I was still thinking about this verse, God directed my eyes to my bookshelves. I had many books. I loved books. As my eyes rested on them, I realized that most of them portrayed things that were contrary to God, His character and kingdom. I realized that God was telling me that I get rid of all the books that took my mind away from the things of God. At first I resisted. I put it off. I even considered rereading them all one last time and then getting rid of them. A lot of money had gone into those books and I didn’t want to give them up.
Gently God reminded me that He wouldn’t ask me to do anything that was not for my long-term benefit, and after some more wrestling with self I was able to give those books up. There were other little things that God asked me to give up, change, or do. I got rid of some types of clothing; I began having regular personal devotions; and I started trying to use better words.
It wasn’t only self that I had to wrestle with to make these changes, but people around me noticed, and most thought I was crazy, stupid, and even my family thought I was becoming a little too extreme. But I knew that God had asked me to make each of these changes and was comforted by His presence.
I was amazed at how real God was becoming to me. I honestly felt like I was becoming a good person, and that God must have nearly finished all the work He had to do with me. I was maybe getting a little bit proud, but was secretly happy that He had never asked anything extra hard of me – like leaving my family and home, or giving up my horses….
That is exactly what God asked me to do. This post tells how I ended up in Cambodia, and how God changed my heart to love the people and the His work. How God showed me that I was more at peace, and happier when I was following God’s will for my life.
Giving up the horses, and moving to Cambodia to be a volunteer teacher, were two things that I had never imagined for my future; but they were in God’s plan. And because I had begun saying, “Yes.” to God in the small things, I was better prepared to say, “Yes!” to the bigger things that He asked of me. How small are all our visions for our lives! God has a bigger, better, grander plan than even our highest aspirations and wildest dreams!
I have learned to trust Him. Everything that He has asked me to do – no matter how easy or hard I perceived it to be – has always been for my benefit. God has used each experience to reveal His character of love to me, and to show me even more things He wants to change in me so as to transform me into a reflection of His Son.
If I had not started said, “Yes.” to God I don’t know where I’d be today. But I know it wouldn’t be here. The blessings and opportunities I have had have all been because I decided to, by His power, say, “Yes.” to God in the small things.
When you decide to say, “Yes!” to God in the small things, I can promise you that God will take your life places you never imagined you would go. God will become so real to you – a faithful friend and guide, the peace of God will fill your heart and you will have fullness of joy.
The choice is yours!