Obedience Before Elevation
“Obedience is the prerequisite to elevation.” This is what I felt the Holy Spirit tell me after I frustratedly vented to Him about not being where I wanted to be in life.
Let me give you a little history for context. In 2016, I felt led to move to New York. I was fresh out of college with no plan, just faith that God would make something work. Also, I knew the urge to move was from the Lord because The Big Apple wasn’t on my radar. I was born in NY and lived there as a child but never had a desire to go back, so when God said that’s where I should be I didn’t understand but followed anyway.
When I got there all my nightmares came true. I couldn't land a job, couldn’t afford to live on my own, fell into a deep depression, and gained over 50lbs from stress eating. It was bad, y’all! Every passing day I felt more embarrassed and ashamed.
God told me to pursue blogging - something I’d wanted to do since high school - but thought I needed to get a job first. I wanted to be financially stable, live on my own, get established, then I could do “fun stuff” like blogging.
For four years I chased a check. I chased what seemed more stable. I chased what I thought - and what everyone else said - made sense. I applied to hundreds of jobs and got denied every single time. Still, I wandered after what I thought my life should look like. Yes, you read that correctly! I spent four years running in circles because I was afraid of the unknown and didn’t trust God.
Enter 2020. The pandemic hits, I get fired from my temp position and basically it feels like the world is ending. I start panicking. “God how could you bring me here for me to fail? Did I not hear you correctly when you said to move here? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Why is nothing working for me? Why haven't the things you prophesied come true?!”
In His gentleness, he calmed me and showed me the story of Jonah. God told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent of their sins or else they’d be destroyed. Because he was afraid, Jonah ran away in the opposite direction. He ends up getting thrown off the ship he fled on, was swallowed by a whale, then thrown up by the whale, and after all that finally went to the people to deliver the message. (The Bible, The Book of Jonah)
He also showed me the story of the Israelites wandering the wilderness for forty years because of their disobedience and lack of faith. An entire generation died because they couldn't learn the lesson in humility and trust God was trying to give. (Joshua 5:6)
In contrast, we went over Noah’s story. God told Noah he'd send rain to flood the earth and instructed him to build a giant boat to save himself, his family, and all the species of animals. This was at a time in history where it had never rained before. Noah didn't know what to expect, but knew to trust God enough to obey.
Lastly, He reminded me of Jesus’s faith and obedience to sacrifice himself on the cross for humanity. Not long before being arrested, Jesus asked God to let our salvation happen a different way but ended the prayer with “nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.” Jesus had faith in God to the point of death, knowing his obedience would yield blessings.
Holy Spirit made it plain for me again, “Obedience is the prerequisite to elevation.” There’s no way I could expect to be successful while being disobedient to the Lord I claim as head of my life. I could either continue to compromise myself like Jonah and the Israelites who fled Egypt or I could live in faith and be rewarded like Noah and Jesus. I had to decide who I would serve - myself and the notion of what life should look like or God and His plan.
Can I tell you something else? I still didn’t obey. I said yes with my mouth but not with my actions. (When I tell you I know the grace of God is real because I would've given up on me right then and there!)
I started a writing agency but I still didn’t start the blog. I pursued grad school but still didn't start the blog. I helped clients grow and master their blogs and still didn’t start my own!
After five years of doing it my way, repeating failing cycles, and running from God I’m finally saying yes with my actions.
The freedom and joy that comes with living in God’s will is unmatched. As you trust Him, his sovereignty will begin to feel more like a privilege and less like a burden.
I know it’s scary but living out of his will is even scarier - and much less rewarding. You don’t have to know what you’re doing. Trust Him for daily direction. We know the Holy Spirit is right, so after the obedience will come the elevation but you have to take the first step.
I’m sharing this because I know there's someone else who has put off obeying the one instruction God tells them consistently. That, my friend, just may be the seed for the harvest you’ve been expecting. Plant the seed!
I believe in you and I’m praying for you, friend!