Friday, January 6, 2012

Radical Obedience

Happy New Year!  Speaking of new years, I have been praying for God to reveal to me what word I could study and meditate on this year, and the word I feel lead to study and meditate on is obedience.  Gulp!   This whole week Joyce Meyers has been speaking on it, and on Thursday she mentioned radical obedience, so I decided to explore that terminology more in depth. I googled "radical obedience" to see what would come up and came across a blog post by Jan Ross that defined radical obedience as obeying God when it does not make sense.  It is doing God's will when our own agenda makes more sense. Ross also wrote, "Radical obedience demands I do whatever I do in a manner which emulates the attitude found in Christ Jesus as He gave His all, through life and through death, so the Father might be revealed through Him every moment of every day."  I would also add that it can be defined as obeying God at all costs...all sacrifice.....TRUSTING Him when what we are asked or called to do is way beyond what we think we CAN do or again, what makes sense to the us or the world around us.  A good example of that would be Noah when he built the Ark.  It did not makes sense to him or anyone else.....but he obeyed God anyway and you can bet he was thankful he did when the world flooded.

The first people I know who came to mind when I thought about the radical part of obedience were Linny and Dw over at A Place Called Simplicity.  Then my mind wandered to Shannon over at Throwing Our Arms Open Wide.  I confess that in the past year I have found myself hungering for the kind of radical obedience to God's will that I see in their lives.  They both amaze me.  Linny with her passion for the orphan  or even being able to stand in the bitter cold watching her house burn to the ground...crying out to God to show her how He would use this terrible event for good and His glory.  Recently her husband, a senior pastor, resigned from his job so they could move immediately to AZ to be near the kind of medical care their newest member will need.  They know they are obeying God and have faith He will provide for them.  Amazing faith and surrender in that family.  And Shannon, who has two sweet girls with major health issues, and yet in obedience walks sometimes blindly forward every single day speaking and living out God's grace and ministering as a family to the orphans in Mexico.  Then there's Joel's cousin David Simonson and his wife Eunice who worked for 50 years bringing the gospel to...and LIVING the gospel for the Masai people of Tanzania.  I have met many others in person and online who also have touched me deeply with their surrender to God's will for their lives and their "radical" obedience to His plans for them.

Joel and I have spent our lives together praying for strength and wisdom to do God's will in our lives.  Still, I admit, fear has held me captive at times, and I now hunger for more of a radical obedience in all areas of my life. I truly want to lay down my life in obedience and trust God for HIS direction and leading in EVERYTHING. 

Serving God in churches in Montana, Minnesota, and Iowa was a big part of God's plan for our lives, and looking back over the years our lives were an adventure in so many ways, most importantly, an adventure in faithful living.  They still are, but because we both battle Lyme Disease our dreams have shifted in many ways.We still rejoice in being able to serve God in the ministry no matter how limited it is, and we look forward to what God's will is for us in the future. 

Which brings me back to the radical obedience Joyce Meyers spoke of.  How can we serve God now?  We much prefer to wear out than rust out.

Maybe His desire for us is to serve him in small quiet ways.  Maybe it is to serve Him in a big city
which would require obedience on my hubby's part!  Maybe it is to serve him somewhere far from our children which would require great effort on my part!  Maybe it is to stay right where we are, which is not our first choice at all.  None of these options makes much sense to us...but they may make sense to God.  Still, do they fulfill the definition of radical obedience?

Radical obedience does not mean God will always send you off to distant lands, it does not mean God will ask more of you than you have to give, and it does not necessarily mean that you will be asked to do big and mighty deeds!  It means, if I understand it, that we will obey God even when it does not makes sense.

Forgiving and embracing someone who has hurt you does NOT make sense......Giving away something you cherish does not make sense.......loving the unlovable does not make sense.....loving those who persecute us.....  Just maybe radical obedience means different things to different people.

I am looking forward to what God is going to teach us about obedience in the coming year.  So far it has been mind blowing and inspiring!  With anticipation and a bit of apprehension I wonder what tomorrow's teachings will bring!  Radical obedience~ certainly something to ponder.

Please stop over and visit Charlotte at Spiritual Sundays to read inspirational posts or link up your own.


NanaNor's said...

Happy Friday Renee, What a powerful and challenging post. Of course I know Linny but have not met the other gal you mentioned,so will go visit her as soon as I finish. I admire your determination to follow with radical obedience; it will be wonderful to watch what that means. My new word for the year is JOY; a life lived joyously so that joy overflows. I know you and your hubby have walked through trials with Lymes etc but how blessed to be one in Him-I simply can't imagine. Blessings to you this weekend dear one.

Kim said...

Renee... Wow, this post is incredible! I can't wait to read more about what you're learning in "obedience" as God has seriously touched me through this. I saw the same Joyce Meyers broadcast, and it clarified for me too the word God has for me! I thought it was obedience at first and realized all the things He was speaking to me about tie obedience to wisdom. I'm choosing "wisdom" as my One Word and trying to see His wisdom through obedience. Obedience is tough though, right?! God is doing big works in us! Thank you for sharing what He's doing in your life!

Charlotte said...

Hi Renee, thank you for stopping by my blog. I am not a part of the "Knee Team" yet. By the time I found out about it, there was a limit to the number of people she wanted to start with (overwhelming perhaps?) I'm waiting until I can participate. I put the link on my side bar as a reminder to check back...and not forget. I would love to participate, prayer is very important to me.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

wow...this really inspires me. I want to do whatever He says. I want to where He calls. Even if at first it's tough.....there's so much joy in hanging with Him wherever He is. Have an awesome weekend

Sharon said...

I love this post! Thank you for sharing your heart. Obedience is radical, and you're right that it doesn't mean that you have to move far away to be radical. Two books I read last year may interest you: Radical by David Platt; and Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman. They are both very challenging to read.

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt desire to serve the Lord. I am also wondering what's next for me in the season ahead. I hope I will lean on the Lord and hear Him clearly!

Ginny said...

What a beautiful post! I will be anxious to see what God has in store for you and Joel. Thanks for sending Linny's site to me also. It was a blessing.

Lisa notes... said...

Obedience. Yes, gulp. :-) I've chosen a challenging word for the year too: venture. May the Lord bless us all as we strive to do what he calls us to do.

Whidbey Woman said...

Great post, Renee. This sounds like a great topic to explore this year and study in more detail. Happy Spiritual Sunday, and thanks for the kind words on my blog!

Gayle said...

I look forward to see the plans the Lord has you this year as you move in obedience. My word this year is peace. Today I bought a little book to write scriptures in related to peace. I look forward to seeing what peace, Shalom, and wholeness He brings into my life this year.
May you hear His voice and have the courage to be obedient this year.