What if you had what you need?

Parents encourage a child to learn to walk like God encouraged us to follow him.

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, NLT)

Sometimes those of us who want to encourage people towards a deep, vibrant faith complicate matters. Pray all the time! (OK, that one’s on Paul.) Pray this way! Pray the Psalms! Pray this other way! Read your Bible every day! Using bullet journaling! Here’s a great devotional! You have to go through this devotional! Do this spiritual practice! And this one! And this other one! Read this book! This book will change your life! Join a small group! And another one! Talk to people about your faith! Listen to people about their faith! Be quiet with God! Be loud for God! Be a leader at home! At school! At work! At church! Tell everyone you know about Jesus! Tithe to your church! Give to this good cause! And this one! And this one! Work for justice in this area! And this one! And this other one! These Christians are in trouble! And these! Help the poor! And the downtrodden! Don’t even think bad thoughts! No swearing! Be generous! Be grateful all the time!

And that’s without the cultural pressures your brand of Christianity puts on you to look, talk, act, and be a certain way.

Complicated. Exhausting. Confusing.

Which is why I always appreciate it when the Bible itself strips all that away. What God wants

  • isn’t too hard for you.
  • is close at hand.
  • is on your lips already.
  • is in your heart already.

This makes me smile a little, because God recognizes that what God asks of us will be hard at times — but not so hard that we can’t do it.

Imagine a parent with an almost-toddler who is learning to walk: the parent’s wide-open encouraging smile, the “you can do it”s; the child’s drive to learn this new thing, to get to the enticing object, drawn towards those open arms (ready to catch them if they fall). That’s what I see here. God is smiling at us saying, “You can do it. It’s hard, but not too hard. It’s even something you already want to do. I will help you.”

What is the it? The command?

Oh nothing but “loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him” (Deut. 30:20).

I see the middle flowing out of the other two–loving and being committed to the Lord makes us want to obey him, puts the desire to obey him on our lips and in our hearts. Don’t forget: God’s grace covers all our failures of obedience. Many heroes of the faith committed 10 Commandment-level failures to obey, but their commitment to the Lord was firm, their love of the Lord sustained them. And God stayed in relationship (in covenant) with them.

This  passage doesn’t mention the Holy Spirit, but it’s also the Spirit’s job to tell us about the love of God, to put the desire to obey God on our lips and in our hearts. So we have an additional helper.

You have what you need to follow God.

So when you feel the complicating pressure of all those voices that tell you what you should do and how you should be, take a breath and remember:

What God wants

  • isn’t too hard for you.
  • is close at hand.
  • is on your lips already.
  • is in your heart already.

Spread the word:

2 thoughts on “What if you had what you need?

  1. Thanks Natalie for this thoughtful and helpful way to understand what comfort we can have in following God’s way for our lives.

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