A Long Obedience

23 06 2010

There is a particular quote by Friedrich Nietzsche that God has been using to impress a deep truth on my heart.

“The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there should be a long obedience in the same direction.”

We live in a world that values flashy beginnings. Start-ups, IPOs, the impending product release, and the ‘new and improved’ receive a lot of headlines. We are fascinated with what is coming next. We hardly get the latest gadget out of the box before we are looking around for another new something to buy. Our society seems to have settled into a mindset in which what is new is always applauded. Things that are steady, reliable, and consistent bring a yawn.

I heard someone say once that anybody can start. What counts is finishing well. That is what Nietzsche was saying. Starting is good, essential even, but continuing, staying with it, and finishing well are what really matter.

God calls us to a long obedience in the same direction. In a world where it is fashionable to jump from one trend to the next fad, He gently moves our eyes to His faithfulness, steadfastness, and unending, unwavering love. Imitate Me, He says. Walk with Me for the long haul, and experience the joy that only comes from going deeper and deeper into My heart.

My Jesus Resolution today is to commit to a long obedience in the same direction. God wants me to spend every day opening my heart to His transformation. Surrender reaps its greatest blessings over the long term. Looking like Jesus is something that happens over a lifetime. A long obedience isn’t easy. It isn’t fashionable or newsworthy. It is the daily choice to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. But, as Nietzsche said, it results in “something which has made life worth living.”



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