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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When was that last time obedience really cost you something?

During a time of prayer a few months back the Lord brought a question to my mind. It's usually easy to spot the God questions. They aren't the kind of questions I would typically think to ask myself. They often can't be answered offhand, requiring me to wrestle with them before the answer emerges.

And they usually end up rocking my world in a significant way.

The question this time was: "What would radical obedience look like?"

For the purposes of this post I'll spare you the soul searching part and skip to the answer. Jenni and I talked it over and agreed that it was time for me to do whatever it takes for me to finish the book I've been writing in fits and starts but hadn't touched in almost two years.

God of the Ridiculous

I have felt impressed by the Lord on more than one occasion to finish the book, but I would always eventually pass it off as impossible. At this stage of my life I can barely get a weekly post and a monthly newsletter in. A book? Ridiculous to even consider.

But I've found that God is often a God of the ridiculous. By that I mean upside down, out of reach, way out there ridiculous. Maybe more accurate would be to say He is a God of ridiculously radical ideas.

So despite being under more work pressure than ever before. Despite the 102 items backlogged in my to do list (that's a real number, by the way - the photo above is a screenshot from my to do list manager) I am sequestered away at a friend's lake house for a week of concentrated work on my book.

No Guarantees

I would love to promise you that when you step out in radical obedience that the clouds will suddenly part and everything will suddenly turn easy.

Maybe it actually does work that way sometimes, but more often than not, at least for me, it doesn't. This week is no exception.

God did show me ridiculous favor by providing a comfortable secluded place for a week for free, without me even having to ask for it. It was a fantastic confirmation that we had heard God correctly concerning the book.

But the actual writing part is being much harder and more laborious that I had ever imagined. Progress has been so much less than I had hoped for going in.

It's funny (strange funny, not ha ha funny) how after the first steps of obedience God often calls us to a place of deeper trust. You see it everywhere in The Bible. David spent 14 years running for his life before his anointing as king finally came to pass. I'm convinced that during those years of running God was preparing David to bear the blessing he had in store.

Radical Surrender

Radical obedience usually calls for radical surrender.

I'm not talking about the "giving up" kind of surrender but the "giving over" kind. It usually calls for some kind of sacrifice, generosity, submission or serving.

I think God calls us all to radical surrender in our marriages.

Think about your relationship with your spouse. When was the last time God called you to radical obedience in your marriage? I'm not talking about obedience to your spouse but obedience to what you know God has called you to be or to do for him or her.

When is the last time your obedience, your surrender of self, really cost you something? When was the last time putting your spouse first in something was really hard? When is the last time you purposefully chose grace over offense, sexual intimacy over exhaustion, reaching out in kindness in the face of emotional distance?

If you can't think of any recent examples, I encourage you to pray and ask, "God, what would radical obedience look like in my marriage?" Then do whatever he shows you.

PS While you are praying, I'd appreciate your prayers on behalf of this little book writing venture I'm in the middle of.  Thanks. Now back to the book.


Anonymous said...

That's awesome Scott!!! I pray for your writing time to be radically fruitful.

"I would love to promise you that when you step out in radical obedience that the clouds will suddenly part and everything will suddenly turn easy." -- I have found that when you decide to step into this kind of obedience the exact opposite happens ... Satan ramps it up. Radical obedience means you are going to grow radically in faith; it's awesome, but it does cost; not always, but usually (at least I find with me it does).

Steve Finnell said...


What does the washing of water found in Ephesians 5:26 mean? Should you, as a believer in Christ, look to creed books and Bible commentaries for the answer to that question or should you look to translations of the Bible for truth? Do you want to trust men or do you want to trust God's written word?

Ephesians 5:25-26...just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (NKJV)

How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church? The church is the body of Christ. The church is comprised of Christians. How did Christ sanctify and cleanse the church?

Ephesians 5:26 to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word;(The Living Bible- Paraphrased)

Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, (KJV)

Ephesians 5:26 in order to make her holy, cleaning her with the baptismal water by the Word. (Weymouth New testament)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make her holy by washing her in a bath of water with the word. (Common English Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water.(Contemporary English Version)

Ephesians 5:26 In order that he might sanctify it, purifying [it] by the washing of water by [the] word, (Darby Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. (ERV-Easy-to-Read-Version)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleaning it, washing it using water along with the spoken words. (God's Word Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to dedicate the church to God by his word, after making it clean by washing it in water, (Good News Translation)

Ephesians 5:26 He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water alone with the spoken words. (Names of God Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, (New American Standard Bible)

Ephesians 5:26 He did that so that he might make the church people holy, when they were washed with water by God's word. (World English N.T.)

Do you really want leave the interpretation of Ephesians 5:26 to others,why would you not read it and believe what it says?

Is God smart enough to guide men to accurately translate the Bible?

Two choices: 1. Trust God's written word, the BIBLE. or 2. Trust preachers, priests, pastors, Bible commentators, the man on the street, your friends and relatives or creed books, for the truth and nothing but the truth.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved....(NKJV)


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