“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.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)
Smarter men than I have wrangled long with this idea, but the words strike a chord of soundness despite their strange source.
A long obedience in the same direction…
When we consider these words through the lens of a follower of Jesus, it seems like the underscore of Jesus’ call to “deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Luke 9.23) He doesn’t just call us to embrace the hope of the gospel and in earnest obedience plunge into the waters of baptism only to come up and go on about life with a great cosmic advisor on speed dial when the sticky spots come along.
No, that thing to which we are called is a long obedience in the same direction—His direction. It is to follow Him every step of the way, to take the next step in obedience and the next and the next and the next and the next.
Continue reading The Starting Place of A Long Obedience
What do you need?
Oh, I know that, most of the time, most of us actually need very little. We have the absurd luxury to say that we need more bread when we get to the last two or three slices in the bag. I dare say we misuse the word “need” more than we use it correctly.
But I am a needy kind of person (and that is, perhaps, the most loaded statement I have ever typed). In this stage of my life, the one thing I find myself most often in genuine need of is direction. I need to know how to proceed – as a pastor trying to lead a congregation and as a father trying to lead a family.
Continue reading What Do You Need?
Sometimes I find myself unsure of how to proceed. And sometimes, when I find myself in such a spot, it seems I don’t even know what questions to ask.
Part of my problem is that I so often see a problem or a challenge or a situation and I spend a lot of energy, time, and thought trying to present a solution to God and ask His blessing upon it. And, in His grace and kindness, sometimes He even blesses that ridiculous notion – kind of like the little kid whose daddy lifted him high in the air thinks he really dunked the basketball.
But then there are times when it seems like every turn of the maze is a dead end.
Frustrated and exhausted and utterly discouraged, I finally stop and look up.
Some friends of mine and I are at one of those places. And, as God often does, it seems He has put a song in my heart and mind this morning. Would you take just a couple of minutes to consider this simple, beautiful, prayerful hymn?
How profoundly simple it seems, “Have Your way, Lord, have Your way.”
Continue reading Have Your Way