Ripple Effects

“Often in Scripture, one regular person followed through on one regular act of obedience, and many experienced a ripple effect.”

Priscilla Shirer

I was fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, when my friend, Kathy Knackstedt, asked me to attend a Young Life small group Bible study. That afternoon the leader presented the Gospel message and I invited Jesus into my heart. My friend was a regular teenager doing what Jesus prompted her to do. I’m sure she had no idea the ripple effect that one act of obedience would take. My life was hugely impacted because Kathy was willing to be obedient in a small way.

Years ago when tempted to sin, the Lord warned me with these words, “There’s much more at stake than you realize.” At that moment, I understood how sin not only impacts my life, but numerous lives around me. Sin, like obedience, has a ripple effect.

Each step of obedience brings God glory and there’s no act of obedience that gives Him greater glory than another. The size of our obedience, whether it’s difficult or easy, does not determine how much glory God receives. It doesn’t matter if we said “Yes” to God to be kind to a loved one who has hurt us or if we agreed to sell everything to go to the mission field. What matters is we obeyed. God receives glory from both, an attitude adjustment or a move to another nation. And God can use both acts of obedience to bring about His ripple effects, like a stone cast across a still lake.

We have no way of knowing how many lives are touched by our simple acts of obedience. Even if we see no results, even if our obedience doesn’t have the outcome we were hoping for, our obedience will bring a smile to the Lord’s face and that’s what counts.

We may think our small compliance to God’s will is insignificant, when in reality we have no idea the lives it will touch or where that step of submission will take us next. Never underestimate the power and plans of God. Our heavenly Father is looking for children who will obey Him, not those who are perfect or those who are fully equipped to do what He’s asked them to do. Say “Yes” to God and watch Him do immeasurably more than all you ask, think or imagine, according to His power that is at work within you. (Ephesians 3:20)

Who knows where my next step of obedience will lead or how far reaching the ripple effects will have. My part is to obey what God asks me to do and trust Him to use it to minister in the lives others.

“The best measure of a spiritual life is not its ecstasies but its obedience.”

Oswald Chambers

Relevant Reflections:

1. Describe a time when one person’s simple act of obedience impacted your life.

2. What ripple effects have you seen from your obedience?

3. What is God asking you to do next? How will your obedience bring God glory?

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