Obeying God in the Little Things

sour cream potato

I made a little batch of chili last night and by “little” I mean a teeny tiny saucepan just for me. My husband and daughter were having something different that they liked, but I had my heart set on a baked potato slathered in chili with a generous spoonful of sour cream on top.

I was actually excited as I popped open the lid of the sour cream, thinking how good this was going to taste; the spicy heat of the chili and the cool and creaminess of the sour cream. Yummy!

So when I dipped my spoon into the sour cream and heard “No” in my spirit, well, I was honestly upset. (Imagine a bratty little kid with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face and you’ll see me in that moment.)

A little side note here: I’ve been waiting to post what God is doing in my life concerning food, waiting for His timing and the lessons He’s working through me. So I can’t explain everything yet, but let me just say I’ve been disciplined by God recently and reminded to use moderation and wisdom when it comes to what I eat.

Well, I reasoned I wasn’t using too much of the sour cream and I knew there wasn’t a problem eating it. So I stood there debating with myself. I wanted sour cream. I knew the potato and chili wouldn’t be nearly as good without it. Besides, why would God tell me not to eat it?

I didn’t even wait for an answer. I thanked Him for the food, dismissing that I didn’t hear Him right, and proceeded to stuff my face.

So…I devoured my little meal, leaving the empty and dry potato skin staring up at me. I wanted to eat that part too (am I the only one who loves the potato skin?), so I went back for some more sour cream.

I dipped my spoon into the tub and began scraping the side, and that’s when I saw it. Mold. There was this dark and nasty mold on the side of the tub that I obviously didn’t see the first time. (And yes, I had checked the expiration date earlier and it was still fine.)

Well I made a doozy of a face, tried to keep my food down, and abandoned the spoon on the counter.

And then I apologized and asked God to please forgive me for not listening, for not obeying Him when He clearly told me “No.”

God was trying to protect me.

The lesson I learned: If you and I don’t obey God in the little things (like me walking away from sour cream and telling my bratty flesh to take a hike), how will we obey Him in the big things? How will we handle those crucial moments of forgiveness or extending mercy to someone?

And what about blessings? How many will we miss because we don’t obey Him in the little things?

But really the question is this: How can we honestly say we love God if we don’t obey Him?

My new prayer for the year has been, “I want more of You, Lord. And I want to love You more.”

And He has shown me through a tub of nasty and moldy sour cream (a fitting image for disobedience) how to love Him more:

Through obedience to Him in all things.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15 NIV.)

‘“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”’ (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT.)

Ice Cream and Instigators

ice cream and instigators

I did some pretty dumb things when I was a kid. When my brother and I were having ice cream at Grandpa’s, my brother (Mr. Instigator) dared me to take a spoonful and fling at it Grandpa’s face. Yep. Right at those glasses Grandpa was wearing, the ones he peered over as if to warn me of impending doom if I went through with it.  The clock hanging on the kitchen wall ticked, ticked, ticked while I debated, while my brother egged me on.  Grandpa’s glare.  Brother’s snickering.  Which one?  Which one?

Unfortunately, I listened to my brother, did the dirty deed, and watched as Grandpa marched right to the phone and called Dad. I was in trouble. BIG trouble. Suddenly pleasing my brother seemed like an awfully stupid thing to do, especially when I had to abandon my bowl of ice cream for a fun-filled, bottom-spanking walk back home while my brother finished his ice cream with a smug smile on his face.

Why would my brother convince me to do something like that? Maybe he just wanted a good laugh, to get me in trouble, or maybe he wanted my ice cream.  I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I didn’t do the right thing and I had to pay for it.

You know, you and I have to deal with two instigators every day who will get us into loads of trouble by trying to convince us to do the wrong thing, to disobey God.

The first instigator is our flesh; that weakling, whiny little toddler who pouts and stomps her feet until she gets her way. She’ll demand we pay attention to her and make sure she’s comfortable at all times and she certainly won’t part with anything we want to share with someone else.  “That’s mine!” she yells as she folds her arms, sticking out her bottom lip a bit further to show her displeasure.  She will deliberately drag us away from volunteering at the soup kitchen because she wants to go to the fair, insisting she needs cotton candy and a funnel cake. She proudly wears a T-shirt that states, “It’s all about me” and she will point to it anytime we forget.

The second instigator who diligently works at keeping us from obeying God is Satan. He is the enemy of our souls, the father of lies, the accuser, and the thief.  He will work very hard to steal our obedience because he knows if he gets it, he’s rendered us pretty useless for God’s Kingdom.  We’ll just sit in the corner, looking a lot like our fleshly selves, sucking on our thumbs and whimpering about God wanting us to do something that’s too hard or weird.  Satan will try to use our weakling flesh against us, to side with him.  He will creep up beside us, beside our fleshly selves, and pat us on the back, murmuring lies and filling us with doubts:

“What will everyone think if you do that? You know. Everyone is going to think you’re crazy.  Why don’t you just stay put, get comfortable.  You don’t need to do that. You don’t need to do what God tells you to do.  Surely if He’s God He can find someone else to do it.”

But when you hear that last one, you shoot straight up in your chair. Of course God can find someone else, but He chose you. Our Almighty God hand-picked you out of every other person on the face of the planet to do something for Him in this precise moment in time.  Why would you want Him to pass you up and find someone else?

What do you do?  There is no middle ground on this battlefield.  You’re either going to obey God or disobey Him.  Which will you choose?

Let me tell you, there is such joy in obeying God, in stepping out and moving through the fear to meet Him in the moment He ordained for you to be involved in.

And yet, there is such deep remorse, such profound and lingering sadness in disobeying God, in giving into those instigators and their ridiculous thoughts and lies. When you disobey God, you grieve His Holy Spirit who is within you.  It’s a pain you will share with Him, one that is nothing short of excruciating.

The choice is yours. Just remember the price to pay for listening to the instigators and disobeying God is far greater than the price of missing out on a bowl of ice cream. You’ll miss out on a blessing, a moment with God Himself.  A moment He chose to share with you.

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:10 NLT.)

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17 NASB.)

 “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. (James 4:7-8a MSG.)

 “He [Jesus] replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’” (Luke 11:28 NIV.)

A Spiritual Intersection


Have you come to a spiritual intersection in your life and you’re waiting at a red light?

This is different than a fork in the road where there are two similar paths and you have to choose between the two. And it’s not a bend in the road either where the destination ahead is shrouded in mystery.

This is an intersection. There is commotion and movement.  There is also stopping and waiting.  But not for long.

If you’ve arrived here, change must be happening for you. Perhaps you’ve prayed for it or perhaps this intersection comes as a surprise.  Whatever the reason, you have to make a decision.

Should you continue on this road you’ve been on or should you turn right or left?

As you sit here and wait with your mind scurrying, your sweaty hands gripping the steering wheel, maybe you’re wondering where those who have the green light are going with such confidence and certainty. Perhaps the longer you sit here you begin to doubt your own direction.  It would be so much easier to follow everyone else, but that’s not what God calls any of us to do.  You’re to follow God’s direction for your life, to follow the calling of your Savior, and never settle.  Settling would be if you choose to follow someone other than God on a road that, for you, would lead to the dead-end town of Disobedience where the mayor, Misery, would welcome you with open arms and offer you immediate residency in a prison cell where the walls of those who’ve come before you reek from the breath of their discouragement.

So let me ask you this: Are you trying to lead your own life or are you allowing God to lead the way?

If you’re still trying to figure it all out, trying to glance over at the map you brought along so you wouldn’t get lost, don’t panic. If you’re allowing God to lead the way, He won’t concern Himself with your narrow-focused map or the surge of rush-hour traffic that’s about to swarm.  He knows what lane you need to be in, and He knows how hard this turn is going to be for you.

He will help you if you ask.

So pray and ask God to lead you right where He wants you. And when the light turns green, hit the gas and go.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2 NLT.)