Put Your Shoes On

A lot of times we see the big miracles in the Bible and think about how much faith that person must have had. Then we look at our own life and often think "I'm not seeing these kind of things happen in my life". Which is probably very true, I know it's true for me, with a few exceptions (if I'm being honest). I have a lot of thoughts on this. If you look at Moses, David and Abraham from the Bible. They all had great tests of their faith. But as a friend pointed out to me recently, is that all of them have a lifetime of smaller tests leading up to that.

Moses was asked to throw his staff on the ground and then it turned into a snake, then after ask Pharaoh to let God's people go, then split the Red Sea, then water from a rock. David wrestled a bear and a lion with "the help from God" while he was alone, then defeated Goliath with that in mind. Abraham saw his elderly wife get pregnant, even though he tried his own way first. Eventually, because he saw a miracle firsthand, even though he tried his own way, when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, He didn't try his own way this time. Because he knew God's promise of "making a nation from his seed", he saw that work out earlier and believed that it could happen the second time.

Basically, God wasn't asking these crazy things out of nowhere, it usually started from these smaller acts of obedience first, then it worked itself up to bigger steps of faith with higher reward (and even higher risk of embarrassment). But if you think about the Moses story, he did try to advocate for his Jewish people his own way by killing an Egyptian, then he fled to the wilderness. God asked him to obey him when nobody else was around. No risk of embarrassment. God said "take off your shoes", then later "throw your staff on the ground" and then it turned into a snake. Then God started testing him in public, with the same miracle throwing his staff on the ground.

Moses saw the miracle happen in private then God asked him to do the same thing in public. David was asked to face a giant in public after he's conquered a lions while he was alone. But we haven't graduated from the tests when we're alone.

I honestly think that we haven't seen anything because we haven't even taken off our shoes (hypothetically speaking). God asked us to do something small a test of obedience, but we don't. We leave them on.

If you have ever ridden a horse, the first time on it, you have to break it in. You sit on it and it'll test you, it'll start moving, if you let it move without your command, it'll control the whole ride. But you have to pull the reigns, basically saying "nope". Then it'll try to move again, you pull "nope". It'll move. You pull. Then you sit for a long time, then it'll get impatient and move, you pull again, "nope". After a while of that, the horse will know "I'm not moving without your permission. Once it obeys you, that's when you and the horse can start riding, racing, moving. It's not fun until the horse finally stops trying to do it's own thing.

I'm 28 years old and it's taken me this long to realize that God is asking really stupid things of me to break me in. Stuff that doesn't seem to matter, because I don't understand it. Just like a horse wouldn't understand why I wanna just sit still for a period of time, but it's not about sitting still, it's about obedience. Because I'm not gonna wanna ride a horse, especially race it or go near cliffs until I know that it's going to obey me. God does this. He's teaching us to obey on small things before we start really going to work.

But here's what happens with us. We've seen so many people do some really ungodly things in the name of God. Because they "heard his voice". So we run from that, we think, "well I wanna really be sure before I just listen to whatever voice I hear in my head". And I agree with that, to an extent. But I think it's paralyzing our faith and potential in the Kingdom. God's not going to ask us right off the bat to lead a nation out of Egypt. And I don't think He ever will unless we start walking in obedience in the small things.

We might be walking down the street or be alone in our room and feel God say "touch the top of your head" and we think "that's just a voice in my head, I'm not just going to obey the voices in my head". But I think we should just touch the top of our head. One of two things can happen, 1. it's the voice in our head and we just touched the top of our head or 2. it's God, testing us and teaching us obedience.

Unfortunately, what happens is that the people that do the weird thing that God asks us, like touch the top of our head, take off our sandals, wear a blue shirt that day. We start telling everyone else that's exactly what they should do too. Then it becomes a tradition, not a relationship that is between you and God. God has asked me to drive or touch the top of my head, but He probably isn't asking you to do that.

Honestly, when I feel a weird request like wear a blue shirt, one of two things happen. I either brush it off as a voice in my head and wear a red shirt and stop hearing 'weird requests'. Or I wear a blue shirt, then later that day I get a bigger request, like walk into that store or something that requires more time/obedience. Then usually by the end of the day, I do or say something inspired, that helps someone else. I hear "touch the top of your head" then later in the day "tell that person this" and it's always ended up being incredibly loving and life giving to that person. But if I wear the red shirt I end up not being guided throughout the day and end up stumbling in one sin or another.

People will brush off that voice saying "nope, it's just a voice in my head". But they don't seem to brush off that other voice in their head that says to 'have another drink' or 'look at porn'. But the real reason we brush it off, is because obedience makes us uncomfortable and that's exactly why God is starting small. Because Moses would not put his staff on the red sea unless he saw the benefits of taking off his sandals first.

We want God to guide our life, but we don't want Him to micromanage.

By the way, I'm totally aware of how weird this blog can seem. I'm aware of the 'crazy' Christians that do crazy things. I feel this is different. This is like your parents saying "put your shoes on" before you go to the playground and when they see that you won't even put your shoes on, they're not gonna take you to the playground.

I think in youthgroup we're taught to go for Jesus so hard that we can't handle it. We're told to run the race of our faith, to change the world. But I think we're asking kids to run a marathon with no training. In fact, I think we need to teach young Christians how to tie their shoes and walk before we tell them to run a marathon. I absolutely believe that faith is a journey and we need to be aware of the stage of the journey each of us is on. Some people need to be asked to move to Africa, some people need to be asked to put on their shoes.

I think Jesus has put mud on our blind eyes, but we never washed off the mud like he asked us and now we walk around thinking that God doesn't work miracles.

Obey the weird requests. If anything, it'll show God that you're listening and willing to obey. But I should also say, that God won't ask you to go against the Bible, loving Him or loving people. But putting your hand on your head or wearing a blue shirt is morally neutral. So wear the blue shirt. Whatever you feel God is saying to you. He's trying to open you up for a bigger adventure if you just put on your shoes.

your friend,

-Isaac