Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Radical Obedience

This term was used in the sermon at our church this past Sunday and it really stuck with me. Radical obediance. The pastor spoke about not needing more "convenient Christians" but Christians who would be radically obedient. I thought back over the past six months and then thought to the future and wondered what "radical obediance" would look like in my own life. Who knew that within 48 hours time it would include finally submitting to God and telling my family about leaving the LDS church?

But what else does it include? I've been thinking about my life right now and what needs transformation and what seems to be the same as it was yesterday and six months ago and even a year ago. I've been wondering how much I'm willing to sacrifice for God and have been really blessed to hear some great sermons and discussions that I've recently downloaded on just this topic.

For example, as a woman I am constantly told that I have the right to go out and work any job that I want. That as a woman I don't have to stay at home, that I don't have to cook and clean and take care of babies, that as a woman - I can be whatever I want to be. That as a woman, I have rights and privileges and gosh darn it - they are mine mine mine mine. However, how healthy is this world perspective for a Christian woman? Is radical obedience in the small things? When the day has just been devestating because all the kids I watch act like they are either hopped up on Red Bull or on downers, I'm exhausted, and then Steve comes home and totally ticks me off or offends me - is radical obedience present when I hold my tongue and submit to my husband? Is it present when everything inside me wants to simply be slothful the rest of the night or the following day and yet I don't?

When I heard the phrase, "radical obedience" I immediately thought of my best friend Barbie who has moved across country dropping everything to heed God's call in her family's life. Who holds her tongue with a rough around the edges husband and who has so much more grace in her family life than I can ever imagine having in mine. Yet that's when it hit me - she didn't wake up one morning and suddenly become this radically obedient Christian by moving across country a few times.

She became a radically obedient Christian by - being obedient with the small tasks put before her. I'm not going to wake up tomorrow and be this completely obedient Christian - but I can intentionally be obedient and when I stumble, pray, repent, and try again. Obedience is a continual walk - otherwise I'd never need Jesus. Yet I do. Desperately. I with hold and continue to with hold - as Max Lucado shares in 3:16 - I'm the cow with the paint can on her head running from those who will save me.

In a recent children's Bible video I watched, Samuel says to King Saul, "Obedience is more important than sacrifice." I may not be giving all my possessions away and moving to the East coast or a foreign country - I may not be giving this great sacrifice, I may not even always be discomforted by my obediance - but obedience is the key to my walk with God. Through it, I learn, I grow, and I fellowship with Him. It's amazing. Obedience - it's such a simple concept and yet, such a hard concept to practice.


Livingsword said...

Hi Maggie;

Great article, it stirred up many thoughts for me and I am appreciative of that.

May I humbly make a suggestion….following Jesus is not about us making rules for our selves (I’m not saying this is what you are doing necessarily) it is about opening ourselves up to a relationship with Jesus, when you come to Him with the attitude you clearly have He will transform you, your heart will change, not your will power.

The more time you spend in His Word, fellowshipping with His people, praying to Him, the closer your relationship grows, the more He transforms you to be more like Him, and into the person He designed you to be. I would say obedience is in trusting Him to do this in you.

I think you are already showing some amazing transformation!

I very much enjoy reading your articles and so in a meme on my blog I have asked if you would be one of those that would express some thoughts about it on their blog.

In other words tag your “it”! Come and check it out the article it is called “5 Dreams meme: My Dreams on the Blade”.

Maggie said...

I will have to come check that out - thank you. :)

I do understand that I cannot change myself by sheer will power. Here's the thing with me - and this is rather unique about me. In regards to faith, I have been described as very analytical. Often times I wonder how accurate that is since in no other area of my life am I at all analytical. :P However, add to that my tendancy towards legalism (my all time favorite entrapment) and you have a great stumbling block to hinder fellowship and relationship with Jesus.

So I think and ponder over what I'm not doing right and then how I can make it better. I often acknowledge what God tells me then say to Him, "I see, all right. I will work on that. Thanks for sharing." Instead of handing it over to Him and allowing Him to work on it in me. In the LDS church it US who changes ourselves through our works and then give glory to God. (Do you understand or do I make sense in my explanation only in my tired head?)

Pratical application of faith and giving things to God and GROWING in my faith have been constant challenges in my life since leaving the church. My pastor, my small groups leaders, my mentors - they can all tell me what to do. At this point, I can usually tell myself the correct Biblical answer - however applying it correctly has been a problem. I try to fix it and rely upon myself because I'm not used to relying upon God and only God.

Thank you for reminding me of this - I wonder if this little beast will ever stop nipping at my heels but I'll praise God when I don't have to keep looking over my shoulder for it. :P