Once I commended my author friend Beth Kephart for her transparency. She corrected me, saying something like, "You know how it is with writers: We only share our third-tier secrets."
But the following post is straight from my own "journal" (if I kept one, which I don't).
On a recent morning I wrote that rare thing---the perfect letter---and eager was I to dispatch it! But it was "sensitive," as they say, and I decided to wait on the Lord for a day (still mainly intending to send it after the perfunctory 24-hour stay of delivery). That small act of what can hardly be called heroic faith prompted almost immediately the following thought:
"Let me rather risk the pain and shame of having believed D too much and erring on the side of faith, than the self-protection that comes from unbelief. It is my reasonable application of 1 Corinthians 13."
Then I asked myself pointed questions: "What are my predominant sin tendencies? Historically, have I usually trusted too much or too little?" Scriptures came to mind and I dragged my letter into its light---it didn't measure up. This excruciating death must have gone on for a good 15 minutes, perhaps the longest I have ever ridden the bucking bronco of temptation to its mastery. I know it's shameful; this should be normal Christianity.
I tore up the letter. (Subsequent events confirmed that it was a good move.) I discovered that obedience is empowering. It brings you to the other side of a chasm, where you are surprised to find new strength. (This is why the Psalmist says, "I love your commands"---Psalm 119).
I now realize why this post is so important to me. It's because there are no larger battles. There are no profounder reasons for the moribund state of the Church, nor profounder prescriptions for its revitalization. All the real action in the Christian life takes place on the cellular level of this moment's obedience to this moment's call.
A man named Evan Roberts, a key figure in the Welsh revival of 1905, told the local congregations he had four messages from God. The third was: "Obey the voice of the Spirit immediately." Of course we can entertain ourselves all day at Starbucks arguing about how one can know it is the voice of the Spirit and not our vain imaginations. The devil loves those kinds of discussions.
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