Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Might Be a Kook If ... The Virtue of OBEDIENCE

I Might Be a Kook If ...
I spend every session standing in waist high water
 with surfboard floating beside me,
and jump on the board and paddle frantically
when a thigh high wave comes.
I then spend the the evening
describing all the barrels I caught.

Pushing beyond what I think I can do. I’m quite conditioned to this mindset. It’s derived from the ubiquitous uncertainty my life has afforded me. I transferred this habit toward sports.

It’s all relative though. My challenge is another’s walk in the park. Take big wave surfer Mark Visser for example. He pushed himself to go beyond what he thought he could do – surf a very big wave in the dark.

Obedience in our walk with God is similar. What is a walk in the park to me may be insanely challenging to you or vice versa. What matters to God is that we are pushing beyond what we think we can do and with an ever increasing intensity being made new, whole, and holy in agreement with His goodness.

I know that is not the textbook definition of what you thought obedience to be. Think about it. So often I don’t do what I want to. Rather, I do exactly what I don’t want to do (Romans ) – uggggh. When my heart desires to be in agreement with God’s, I claim an allegiance to His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2). He does not require perfection. He asks for a sincere, undivided, and uncompromised commitment to Him.

Surfing is no different. I finally make it out past the surf break. I rest in the safety of the calm water beyond the breaking waves. With courage I am to press on to tackle a whole new set of challenges beyond my current skill set.

Before Mark Visser was ever pulled in to the infamous JAWS off the coast of Maui, he trained. He conditioned his mind and his body to respond to the nuances of surfing at night. In his words, “I couldn’t see what the wave was doing. I had to let everything go visually and try to feel what was happening. I just reacted to instinct.[1]

When our intensely focused conviction aligns to being made more like Christ in attitude, words, and deeds we are obedient to the will of God. Successful performance is less important than our sincere attempt. Like Mark Visser, over time, our skill set will increase with each training session until our right behavior occurs as an instinct.

What often keeps us from pushing beyond what we think we can do? In my experience, its excuses fueled by (a) fear, (b) disappointment, or (c) apathy.

·   Kook like behavior takes place when I measure myself against the success of another. I fail to weigh my sincere attempts against my heart. The acceptance and approval of man must be irrelevant.
·   Kook like behavior takes place when I behave rightly in an attempt to prove my holiness before man. Perfection as an offering of religion is annoying to God. A kook can hide behind religious legalism yet be consumed with rebellion in their hearts. The true nature of our hearts can be hidden behind religious activities.
·   Kook like behavior takes place when I repeat the same mistakes expecting different results.
·   Kook like behavior takes places when I operate with a divided heart or fail to recognize what I do/think does not align to God’s truth.

God doesn’t want my religious obedience. He is pleased when by faith I earnestly trust His Word to be the truth I align my life to and allow His power to transform us (Hebrews 11:6). My trusting and loving Him makes my allegiance to Him secure. As a result, my obedience agrees with His teaching with greater and greater success.

So, in life, we live by faith (trust) in God’s goodness not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). When what we SEE does not line up with what God has revealed to be true, honest, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and noble (Philippians 4:8) we act according to what we know not by what we see. 

[1] The Night Rider, Spirit Magazine – Southwest Airlines, July 2011


Anonymous said...

If I read this right we're all Kook's aren't we? Maybe each of us has some area of our heart that we don't really want to live out in faith. We resist God's efforts to change us and hold tightly to our own way of thinking and doing because we are too proud or stubborn or scared to let Him change us. Change is scary and painful. Living faithfully is believing in Christ and also following where He leads us. To say "I live by faith" but refuse to walk worthy is kook-like (John 14:15) just as walking worthy but not really believing in Jesus is (Isa 29:13).