A Long Obedience

Some years ago Eugene Peterson brought a book title into the world that in my view highlights one of the most profound and essential truth statements for anyone seeking to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society" one can begin to appreciate key remedies to most all that ails we fallen human beings.

Our culture (even Christian culture) has pretty well discarded this word… adding loss to loss. Or perhaps I should say maintaining the loss, the hole in our heart in need of purpose, meaning and in effect, keeping the love of God at arm's length.

I woke up very early this morning to yet another email from a friend who has admittedly ruined his life by enough disobedience to God and His Word that he is deeply distraught over it all.

This could be the beginning of real healing, real change, a deeper, perhaps even the deepest face-to-face with a loving Father's grace than he has ever known. It could. It might. It can be.

He asked for prayer and input, and I think mainly wanted a listening ear from someone who might offer him kindness, understanding and something of hope. He sounded emotionally spent and though a person with faith in Jesus, his personal spiritual mirror offers an image of himself neither he nor his God thinks is a good one.

I've been there. So have many of you reading this blog.

Faith in the goodness and compassion of God must be mixed with a sustained, maintained -and let us admit- sometimes painful exit of our own will to the extent of embracing the revealed will of our Lord.

We are a fallen people. "All of us, like sheep have gone astray, each one turned to his or her own way."

Indeed.

The remedy, at least at the outset, is not always pleasant.

We Christians want to dress up the thorns, the nails, the cross, the concept that Jesus did it all for us therefore… therefore what? "Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound" asks the apostle Paul?

Ahhh but that sandpaper term "obedience"! What a pain! And at times it is exactly that.

When Jesus "set his face like flint" and kept moving down a physical road that He already knew would cost Him His own (in the human sense) security, did His disciples know what it would cost them?

Tradition and to some extent, history, tells us that these disciples for the most part died for Him and His causes.

I admit there are nearly never easy roads out of sin addiction.

Whatever the specific causes and issues, the only cure that ever worked/works for me is obedience to God and application of His Word (The Bible) in all areas over the "long haul".

In his younger days my Dad was a long-haul truck driver. He drove semis for what then was the largest trucking company in the U.S., and we often talked about it.

Learning to regulate his stops for proper food and sleep, inspecting his rig for safety, load balancing, engine and tire maintenance, all the things that go into a successful journey that's going to take some time were part of his daily habit, a routine that eventually helped propel him into a managerial position with the company.

You may never experience the same sort of promotion- but what about sanity, emotional stability, physical health, spiritual LIFE and a deep thread of the sense of God's love and His acceptance, even His pleasure over YOU running through your life-journey? Is this even a possibility for you?

I'm here to tell you that the God of hope, the God Who IS love,
Who invented grace and created us is closer to you than your heartbeat. I'm here to tell you if He loves me, He certainly loves you. I'm personally more certain He loves me than I am the
sun will rise today.

I'm also here to tell you unless you continue to make sometimes unpleasant choices to surrender to Him in obedience, and take it one day, one step, one decision TOWARD Him at a time, you cannot progress out of the darkness.

I truly feel for the bro. who has just written me… and I get emails and have conversations with people like him- like I was and on occasion am- often. I still sin. I don't always obey God in love for Him and others. Yet I'm on the road and I deeply WANT to please Him, become who He created and calls me to be.

My heart seeks to bless Him- and I can tell you that next to my wife, family and church, He is my number One addiction 🙂

Over time and by God's grace I've accumulated a few positive habits. I've only experienced a few positive addictions- but a long obedience in the same direction is one of them.

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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8 thoughts on “A Long Obedience

  1. Timely and encouraging article, Glenn. "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" is my all-time favorite title. To me it has always pointed to an attitude or orientation or posture toward life and the journey. Your article applies it in a fresh way to the matter of overcoming sin. Thanks!

  2. What I find in my life – is – when I disobey, nothing feels right until I go back and obey (if i am able – some choices don’t present themselves again). I seem to always feel "ruffled" in my spirit where I didn’t listen and do. He’s so gracious though and in my experience always gives me a chance to go back and correct what is wrong.

  3. Dito to all the above comments. I especially appreciated the comment when you said "one day at a time", and "one step at a time..to obedience. That’s the right perspective when dealing with an addiction or habit. Thanks Glenn

  4. Glenn…funny you should be talking about obedience. I have recently been called on the carpet by Jesus for having the SIN OF PRIDE. God had blessed me with a rich portion of grace and a large move of the Spirit…..well, it went to my head and all the sudden it was all about ME! ME evangelizing the streets, ME having epifanies and of course sharing them with the body, Me filling up MY row of chairs in church with the people the great APOSTLE ME brought in. Me exorting, ME giving a word of knowledge, which led to ME gaining respect, which led to ME giving instruction, which led to ME rebuking brothers, which led to ME judging others which led to ME getting butt hurt when key people in the body didn’t dance to MY DIVINE FLUTE, which led to ME leaving the church….then i had the unmedigated awdacity to wonder why the Holy Spirit wasn’t moving appon me any more, and i had no peace. I have since learned that i am in the "wilderness" for building a "golden calf" and calling it "ME"…and will continue to be there until i give Jesus back His Throne and get my butt back on the cross. God apposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. The instrament doesn’t get the praise for playing the song…only the Master, who tuned and played it with great care and love……..phil

  5. Glenn…this is the only i can get ahold of you-I just spent a couple of days w/ Steven Hope from steven hope ministries out of houston TX. the guy was carrying a 12′ cross when "biker steve" and i met him…within 1 minute we were praying and other people started in….then the mgr of jack n the box asked if he would pray for the crew and she stopped everything( i mean cars were sitt’n in the drive through!)….a small revival broke out!!! so much happened sat. & sunday(like gov. rick parries prayer meeting that the scoffers laughed at….40000 christians showed up!) GOD is moving all over america!….anyway, this man has the Holy Spirit all over him and every where we go wild stuff happened….he just commly&humbly said that God told him to carry a 12 foot cross to NY and be at ground zero by 9/11 for the aniversary….we hooked him up and sent him on his way…I thought nothing of it, i thought "cool, another Arthur Blessed"….then today God revealed to me whats goin on-theres a big debate and even a lawsuit filed by the athiests concerning the removal of the twisted metal cross at ground zero musium, and other attempts to kick Jesus out of America….GOD is gonna have this meek and humble man drag a 12 foot cross through manhattan to ground zero on the 10 yr aniversary and there will be multitudes of believers walking with him for Jesus to show America and the world that Jesus is still Lord, that He still loves even the people that don’t believe in Him, and that the people of New York will always have hope….nobody can take away our faith….anyway Glenn, Steven Hope needs our support. Please get the word out brother. The Lord wants people to join him, carry the cross with him, offer food& drink along the way, a place to crash during the night, and for poeple along the way to pray for him,encourage him, and or join in on the journey.I know you have alot of connections in NY too….please help get the word out. this thing of the Lord is real big bro…his phone number is 281-546-6549 he is in lafeatte La. tonight and i dont know his route he drives 40 miles and carries the cross 10 miles a day to minister and proclaim the good news…all on faith. thanks phil

  6. Thanks Phil. Reminds me of the old Jesus freak saying "I'm a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?" Praying for Steve, praying for the U.S. and world… so many need to follow Jesus. -Glenn

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