There have been different movements throughout our history and different trends on the things that we share. There were the fire and brimstone messages then there was the prosperity gospel. We seem to talk about the thing that the last generation failed to speak on. It seems we are in a season of talking about grace which is so needed for our generation. I know it’s something that I need to be reminded of often.
But I also know that the Lord has called us to holiness and action and even as I wrote The Finishing School, I really wrestled with the topic of calling people to do something. We know it is not the avenue of salvation, but I couldn’t help feel like the Lord wanted me to share more about obedience.
I have been reading a lot of books from older generations, particularly A.W. Tozer and Stormie Omartian and have been blown away by their language and boldness to call us to “doing things”. Their assertiveness in some things made me squirm. I’m used to being coddled a bit and told grace is all that matters. As I kept reading though, here is what I learned: their desire for obedience doesn’t come from feeling like that’s how we get God’s love. Actually, it’s their understanding of the depth of God’s grace that compels them to action.
Grace should propel you into obedience, not replace it. This is a holy pursuit. There is passion and desire to glorify and please this God who sacrificed His Son for ME.
I can bet my husband and sister are sick of me talking about these old writers and how much they inspired me to obey with pure joy. There is movement in their words. And again, it’s not because they are trying to check off a to-do list that will lead to heaven. It’s simply because they have experienced God’s grace in such a way that they can’t help but respond to it.
If you are immersed in the message of grace, but feel like you may be stuck there, here are some tips to let it propel you in a holy pursuit:
1. Read Psalm 119.
Notice the passion David has for God’s Word. In college, I was experiencing a small bout of depression and a friend recommended this passage. David’s excitement for the Word got me excited. His obedience seemed beautiful and not drudgery to an unworthy master. It was motivating to my soul to pursue God in a real and actionable way.
2. Pray for passion.
Make it your own prayer that you would have this passion for God and His Word. We can’t wish for it. We can’t complain we don’t have it. We have got to pray for it.
3. Read books by Christian authors from past generations.
I highly recommend A.W. Tozer (and I’m pretty sure my sister has a crush on him now. Secret’s out Natalie! 😉 ) If you have read all the books by current authors and feel like it’s all starting to run together, the old guys will definitely shake things up for you! I’m totally not knocking current authors. I consider myself a part of that group and you will see in a few weeks how many books I’m excited to read in 2016 from current writers. It’s honestly just hard to not write in today’s world without some political correctness. These past generations had a different filter that is a refreshing kick in the pants.
4. Read The Finishing School
I won’t lie to you, I have to read the old guys slowly since they speak a little differently. If you want to get more of this concept of grace that propels obedience, dip your toe in with The Finishing School…and then still go read the old guys.
5. React to grace
When you are confronted with the concept of grace, train yourself to react to it, not just hear about it. We can hear it so often that we forget the magnificence in God’s grace and Jesus’s death on the cross. Instead of moving on, let it inspire some sort of response, whether that is simply pondering it or leading you to worship, heartfelt prayer or an act of obedience. These things have developed my passion for the Lord in incredible ways.
What’s your view of obedience? Does it make you uncomfortable to talk about like it does me sometimes?
Thank you so much for talking about this, Val! It reminds me of a verse we discussed in small group last week. It was Hebrews 10:14, which reads: “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” The last two words – BEING SANCTIFIED – really struck a cord in me that night because it means wheels are still turning. The Spirit is working in us to make us more like Christ. Knowing that, leaning into that, and reacting to that grace, as you said, really does make joyful obedience they only way to live.