In high school, there was a guy in one of my classes who wrote “Think before you speak” on all of my folders. At the end of the year, I tore a piece off and stuck on my mirror as a reminder of how often I say the wrong thing. Ten years later I feel like I’m starting to learn just what he meant. Last summer, I read this book Discerning the Voice of God by Pricilla Shirer. The book is about recognizing God’s voice before you make a move. God used those words to deeply convict me about submitting to Him before I speak or act. Since then I have been on a journey of learning to submit my words and actions to the Lord in every regards. It’s been a difficult road. As a Leo, I am known for deep lasting relationships. The Lord has used some of those deep relationships to really drive his point home. In one situation, I have a friend who has made some choices that are clearly not of the Lord. At first, I was in complete shock. All I could do was cry out to Lord on her behalf for mercy. In interacting with her it was difficult to know what to say or do. I spent hours on my knees praying for God’s guidance and wisdom in every word I spoke or action I took toward her. As a result, of my faithfulness to the Lord I have seen our friendship grow and blossom in unexpected ways. The prayers that many of her faithful friends are prompting the Lord to transform her life. While she is still traveling a difficult road, she is growing in the Lord every day. In my foolishness, I thought this was a time in life that I was meant to pull her along. But the truth is it is a time that in our friendship that we are to walk even more closely to the Lord leaning on His direction. Along the way, I have reminded her that some day she is going to look back on this incredibly tough place and realize how far she has come. I can’t wait to hear her story of redemption. At the same time, I am beginning to realize that in a strange way it is also my story of redemption. A story of a girl who more often than not says the wrong thing but who is learning to only speak what the Lord places on her tongue. A few months back, I pride fully thought to myself “Lesson Learned.” Don’t make the same mistake I did because I am here to tell you the minute you think you have it figured out the Lord will ask “Are you sure?” You may not want to know the answer.
Another situation in life that the Lord is using to witness to me is with one of my spiritual mentors. We have literally lived through hell together. She has been there to hold my hand or let me cry on her shoulder so many times that I have lost count. You would think if we could live through the worst of times that we could live through the not so great times together. For the last several months, I have watched my friend change into a different person due to new influences in life. In some ways, I see really great things happening. But in other ways I am surprised by some of the uncharacteristic things I have witnessed. Part of this transformation has been incredibly heart breaking to me because of the cost. Yet again, I often don’t have words of my own to speak. I have had no choice but to submit my words and actions to the Lord. While I feel that in this area I have failed a few times letting my emotions get the best of my words, overall I think that I have been loyal to what the Lord has called me to say and do. The result however has been a strain in our relationship. I can’t tell you how much the situation sucks. Someone once said to me “Of course life is going to suck sometimes. What do you expect? Life is not always going to be a bed of roses just because you walk with the Lord.” Oh how true those wise words are…two situations that I have been loyal to the Lord’s calling with two very different results. Are you sure…are you sure you can be loyal no matter what the cost?
This week the Lord has really brought this lesson home for me. On Sunday, we shared the story of Jonathan and David from 1 Samuel 20. While I have read this story many times, I have never been touched more by the words than I am now. I always thought the story was about David, but really I think the story is about Jonathan. Jonathan is a shining example of loyalty. In this passage, he had to choose between loyalty to his earthy father and his best friend. His choice was to be loyal to God no matter what the cost. His loyalty to God guided him through opposing aspects of human relationships. The conflicting demands of our relationships challenge us as well. If we attempt to settle them our way, then they will end with a sense of failure. But if we continue to be loyal to God’s truth our choices will me much clearer.