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July 14, 2013

A Long Obedience

Pastor Patrick reminded us today that being faithful is a long obedience in the same direction. I love this book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson.  Peterson makes the point that our society is looking for shortcuts to the religious life. He points out that many claim to be born again, but there is little evidence of mature disciples. I believe this statement is more accurate now than it ever has been. The Christian market is flooded with more and more preaching, teaching, and media materials available to give people a quick religious experience without true discipleship. Peterson says "There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness." Peterson says we have a tourist mindset where we come to visit the sites and hear the latest good word then we hurry back to our lives. That's not the gospel message where Jesus invites His followers to come and die, to come and not look back. I love the Old Testament symbolism that shows God's people dwelling in tents and not cities. We are to be life long apprentices and disciples to the Master. We are called to be pilgrims ever journeying toward the place our Father has prepared for us. Many of our struggles and frustrations in life come from that fact that we are trying to live two lives. We want to live for God and for self, but that will never work. A true disciple will leave the old life and set out on a journey with Christ. They will faithfully practice a long obedience in the same direction.