Can you keep it up?
Can you keep things going?
Can you stay consistent?
I've heard it all.
'Can't you just be still?'
'Do you ever relax?'
'Does your mind ever rest?'
In the order of the questions, here are my answers-'Sometimes, for a minute,' 'sometimes, but just for a bit,' and 'No, I don't really think so.' In that vein-I was getting a manicure today, but couldn't waste the time, so was listening to a terrific new audio book, Chase the Lion.1 Suddenly, a line grabbed my attention, and I cannot let it go:
I believe in long obedience in the same direction.
Interestingly, the quote was part of something Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher who announced the death of God, said. Now, clearly Nietzsche was at best confused, at worst, something far worse, but this sentence moves me:
The essential thing "in heaven and earth" is that there should
be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby
results, and has always resulted in the long run, something
which has made life worth living.2
Thankfully, the hard copy of Batterson's book arrived in today's mail so I could read the quote, its context and ruminate on it. My conclusion: Nietzsche was spot on.
Like for instance, in wrapping up the series on the Holy Spirit, I ask myself 'so what?' 'What difference does it make to me or any of my readers to know more about the Holy Spirit-what Jesus said about him, what the Bible proclaimed, the difference he makes in our lives, etc.? Unless . . . I maintain a long obedience in the same direction
. We can know all about God, we can believe in Jesus, but unless we choose to obey him, and stick with it, who cares? As a book is titled, what difference do it make?
Obedience is not just about following rules, it is an attitude of the heart. It is a desire for our lives and characters to be God-honoring, out of devotion to him. I never forget what Jesus said, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."3
I do not want to just say I love God, there must be follow-through on that which I know God would have me do.
Oh, and what is "a long obedience in the same direction"? That's easy. It is faithfulness, of course, Silly! We just looked at the fruit of the Spirit, remember?
So let us be intentional about staying at our post, doing what we know God would have us do ~ just keeping on keeping on,
keeping things going,
staying consistent in the things of God.
Like taking time as we start our day to pray
Like taking time as we start our day to read a little of his Word
Like taking time ~ to be with him.
Because that is what he asks of us-to be holy even as he is holy.
So how about it? How about if you and I are long obedient in the same direction?
1 - Chase the Lion, Mark Batterson, Multnomah.
2 - Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche.
3 - John 14.23-24