Having been in the ministry for a number of years now, and having worked in retail quite a bit, I've learned a lot about people. Most people live in cycles. You know, we do certain things at certain times of the day, week, month, year, etc. In all fairness, much of these cycles are developed around the rising and setting of the sun. Who can escape that, right?
But as I have learned to apply the Word of God in my life over the years, I've discovered that many of the cycles we naturally slip in to can be broken. Yes sir, they can! For instance, are you naturally "chipper" in the mornings? Or, are you a member of the "walking dead" till noon? Most people who are like Count Dracula (opening their eyes in a nano-twinkle early on), usually shut down just after a hearty dinner. On the other hand, the not-so-morning person seems to hit their stride about the time of the 11 O'clock (PM) news.
When I was in the military we held training exercises often. There were times I would have to work a schedule I deeply abhorred. Graveyard shift (12am - 8am)! I was so accustomed to my regular day shift routine it was hard for me to break out of it. About 5 am every morning (on graveyard) I was ready melt into a sleep-induced coma. Simply driving home from work was the greatest challenge of my graveyard days! But...I did it. I still hated it...but I did it! My point is there are times when we simply do what we have to do in order to accomplish a mission.
It's the same way with serving God. The truth is (just like the military) when you signed on with God, you signed on to be available to Him 24 X 7. We don't serve, obey, and trust Him only when it feels good to do so. We also don't do the above only when we want to, or only when it is comfortable for us. There are times we must obey God's Word, even when we don't want to! Jonah is a good example. God commanded him to go to Nineveh and preach the Gospel. God's plan would have an entire, evil city repenting at the preaching of Jonah! But Jonah didn't want to do it so he fled and ended up in the belly of a big fish! He eventually obeyed God and preached to Nineveh. There was a big revival.
There were several reasons why Jonah didn't want to obey God (see the book of Jonah in the Bible). But my point here is that even when God commanded Him, he didn't want to. It's no different for you and me. God's Word is His blueprint for our lives. Yet there are times when we don't want to abide by His Word. Sometimes it makes us uncomfortable. Sometimes we fear the rejection of our peers. Sometimes we simply want to go with our flesh instead. But ALWAYS it makes us effective for Jesus when we obey God's Word. I can imagine Jonah felt pretty good when he finally obeyed God, preached the Gospel, and the city of Nineveh repented at his preaching! I certainly would.
Always remember, we must conform our flesh to God's will as we renew our minds with His Word. It is always the flesh, because of an un-renewed mind that will many times resist the Word of God. In the military I hated the exercises. I hated graveyard shift! It made me very uncomfortable. Yes, I had no choice but to participate, but I still didn't want to do it. However, the result was that we were prepared for what a potential enemy might throw at us.
It's more comfortable for you to sleep in instead of rising early to pray. It's more comfortable for me to cradle the TV remote tenderly for hours when I could be dedicating that time to my God. It's not always comfortable for us to uphold Godly living standards in the midst of our work place. But we must! We must live by standards that are not of this world. Some people will not understand why. Some will reject us. But like the city of Nineveh, there will be those who observe us, listen to us, and embrace the message of Jesus. It starts with a firm commitment to obey Him instead of ourselves. It starts today. How about you?