With joy you will drink deeply from the fountain of salvation! Isaiah 12:3 NLT
A few years ago I heard the Holy Spirit speak these words to my heart…Don’t say “no” if you hear me saying “yes”. This was a reminder to me of how important it is to be a good listener and to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying.
When I heard these words, it was very clear to me why the Lord was saying them. Due to a voice condition I had developed when I was in my late 30’s, it became extremely difficult to speak in public. Saying “no” to speaking invitations became a normal response. I lived this way for over 20 years.
One day, while sitting through a church service, this question came to mind, “What if the person preaching today happened to be you?” The thought terrified me. There was no way I could do such a thing. The thought kept me uneasy throughout the day.
Several weeks later, one of the pastors from the church I was attending, made an appointment to see me. During our time together he asked me the following question, “We are soon to begin a new sermon series in our church and we would like you to bring the opening message.” My flesh immediately wanted to say “no”, but before I could give my answer I heard the Spirit’s voice telling me “say yes”.
Although my “yes” answer went against what my flesh wanted to do, God’s peace quieted my heart and calmed my fears. In that moment, I took a faith step of obedience that brought me the joy of pleasing Him. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but this step of obedience allowed me to discover a new found freedom in public speaking that has continued to this day.
How do you begin your journey into joy in the coming year? You begin by taking a simple step of obedience. Is there anything God is asking you to do that you have been putting off?
Perhaps God is asking you to surrender an area of your life that you have been trying to control; perhaps He wants you to release a burden that has been weighing you down; perhaps He is asking you to extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt you; perhaps it is time for you to say “yes” to something you have been saying “no” to for a long time.
What does your next step of obedience look like? Are you willing to take it? Are you ready to say “yes” and begin your journey into joy in 2014?