Are you overcomplicating obedience? Do you ever feel the friction of trying to surrender your plans when you don’t want to?
Have you ever struggled with complicating obedience? I have. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be a complicated thing.
Jesus lived a simple life, he modeled the life that we should live. And there’s a lot of simplicity in that, but we tend to overcomplicate it. We add all these rules that Jesus didn’t tell us to do.
I remember when I was growing up, I put a lot of extra pressure on myself. For one, perhaps to be a perfectionist. But two, to live a certain way so that I wouldn’t ruffle any feathers.
I silenced my opinions in a way that would make me come across as a people-pleaser. I’ve asked myself a lot of times, “Laura, why do you continue to overcomplicate obedience?”
This is how I overcomplicate obedience.
I’m constantly asking God “Is this what you want me to do?” Literally, in my journal, just yesterday morning, I was asking God permission for things. Like is this launch date still OK? Am I hitting a wall because this is not your will for me?
“I’m easily distracted and stretched thin. Is there something that I could be doing differently? I’m here.
Clear my mind of anything that is not my purpose. Remove any ideas, brainstorming, or ambitions that I have generated apart from you, I only need and want you, whatever you want me to run with.”
My prayer was “Am I getting this right?” I asked Him to erase from my mind anything that is not initiated by Him.
I think a lot of times we have these ideas, and we wonder if it’s what we are supposed to do and does it feel right? We operate off of feelings.
“Can you help me? I don’t want to just eliminate unnecessary stress, albeit, that’s a big part, I want to generate peace.
Is that what I need? Is that what people want?”
Guys, this is like the inside of my soul that I am sharing with you. I love journaling, I process things through writing. It’s not easy for me to share this, because it’s vulnerable.
Maybe you can relate? Maybe you’ve had these same thoughts? Or maybe you feel that way, but you didn’t know how to say it. I’ve been there.
There have been times when I’ve listened to messages or read things, and it blows me away that they just put words together and completely define a feeling that I have.
Can we stop overcomplicating obedience?
When considering overcomplicating obedience, I try to make sure that I am walking every 24 hours in a mindfulness of surrender.
Even though I might be getting it wrong, I keep asking God to help me and guide me. I want to share with you guys some scripture that I have pulled that I use to keep me in check.
“Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17
We are disobeying when we pretend to not know what we’re supposed to be doing. I don’t want any of us to pretend we’re not quite sure what God wants us to do.
Are you asking yourself if it’s truly bad to do something, but in the back of your mind you know that God has already told you that it’s wrong?
God has already worked on your heart with that, and you’re trying to pick up that sin again. It’s something you’ve already given to God and you’re trying to justify it. You’re overcomplicating obedience.
James 4:17 says that if you know you shouldn’t do it and you do it anyway, that’s a sin. That is not obedience.
God doesn’t overcomplicate obedience.
If you genuinely come to God with a heart that’s just not sure what path to take, if you’re asking for Him to make it clear, God is just going to tell you to do the next right thing.
Sorry, I know that is cheesy. But what you know you should be doing, just do it for the next 24 hours.
God isn’t going to breadcrumb us. I don’t want to say that God tests us, because He does not, the Bible is very clear about that.
However, when it’s not clear, I think that God is ensuring our strength, and maybe even revealing to us the depths of our disobedience. He is giving us the chance to do the right thing.
If you did the wrong thing, He’s not going to guide you or show you any favor until you get it right.
He gives us small things to obey.
The more that we obey Him in the little things, the more opportunity we may have to obey Him in the big things.
When God gives us opportunities to be obedient, don’t overcomplicate it by putting pressure on yourself worrying about if you’ll the wrong thing.
Do you know right from wrong?
“…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Matthew 12:34
The more you fill your heart with truth and wisdom, maybe from others who spiritually lead you, the more it’s going to prune what you say.
It’ll become easier to hold your tongue when you want to say something that isn’t going to help someone grow closer to God.
There won’t be a desire to prove that you’re right and they’re wrong. When your heart is full of good things, it becomes more natural to edify those around you.
“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15
This is one that I love. That idea of peace keeps on coming back. When you’re complicating obedience, you live in this feeling of unease or discontent, of nothing you do ever being good enough.
God says He wants to give you peace. He wants to give you calm. He wants to give you rest.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I think I spoke abut this last week. That’s a verse I run to constantly. A couple more verses I wanted to share:
“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7
I’m all about Colossians today. What keeps on coming up to me is that overflowing of thankfulness.
Just get rooted in him, and dig deeper. Keep things clear and simple in your mind. And remember James 4:17, if you know you’re not supposed to do it and you do it anyway, it’s a sin.
Don’t come to God trying to overcomplicate obedience and justify something that you’re struggling with.
Just surrender it. Take each day an hour at a time. Ask yourself, did you say yes to Him in the last hour?
Did you say yes or did you try to hide? A lot of times, saying yes might mean slowing down, but it also might mean extending yourself so that you’re loving first.
You might be stretching yourself out of your comfort zone to help someone else who might need the love of Jesus. It can be simple.
Check your heart. Check your head. Don’t justify your sins. God already knows that you know what not to do.
If you genuinely don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, God loves you and He offers grace, so just seek Him.
The scripture that I shared with you, it’s not difficult to find, but I know that studying the Bible can be intimidating sometimes.
If you’re struggling with this topic, dig into Colossians. Just read a couple of verses or a chapter a day.
See what you think.
I would love to know if that helped.