I’ve been reading Lynn Austin’s book series, Chronicles of the King. The first few books in this fictional series bring color and depth to the life of a real king—Hezekiah—who reigned over Judah from 716/15 – 687/86 B.C. Because of my love for “period pieces” and out of my love for the Bible, Ms. Austin’s books are a good fit for my heart, even though artistic licensing is at work. A little imagination from her pen spurs mine along, fostering my thinking about God, his people, and their constant struggle to understand him, honor him, and, ultimately, to obey him. It seems to me the Israelites were always stepping just outside the parameters of who God intended for them to be. No wonder my fascination; I see my story written in theirs.
Now, take these books, stand them alongside my journey with the 7th year and, then, prop them both up beside the current ministry road I’m traveling with my family. In doing so, one theme emerges for me. One phrase. One challenge. One certain and strong whisper from the Father’s heart into mine.
This is what God expects of me in this season; not that he hasn’t expected it from me in my earlier seasons or that all of life shouldn’t be met with supreme allegiance to the King. But now, right now, is the time when I see this most clearly, feel this most deeply, and understand this most fully.
Now is the time to walk the hard road of unparalleled obedience. Now is NOT the time to monkey around with my faith or play Russian roulette with God’s grace. Now is NOT the time to chase fires (remember that story?); now is the time to stay on the path with no straying. There’s too much on the line, and God is closely watching my steps.
Accordingly, I must guard my heart so that God can most clearly guide my steps. Unparalleled obedience requires intentional focus—a willing yielding to what God says even when what God says feels restricting. A little restriction . . . a little “uncomfortable and inconvenient” is small surrender in comparison to what God wants to offer in exchange—his favor. His direction. His voice. God has a plan, and I don’t want to miss it because of my unwillingness to apply my heart, mind, and soul toward obedience.
So what does this look like for me? How will I go about guarding my heart and mind in Christ Jesus? Here’s my fix (simple in scope; harder in sequence):
Fix my heart on God’s heart.
Fix my mind on God’s Word.
Fix my soul on God’s forever.
However he loves, whatever he says, and wherever he lives, this is where I must reside if I want to walk in unparalleled obedience to my King. When the heart wanders, the mind strays, and the soul lingers within worldly boundaries not tempered by eternal realities, the only allegiance given is to the cravings of the flesh that will never finish me “holy” but, instead, wholly hamper me.
I don’t imagine I’ve ever been more seriously inclined toward godly obedience. I do imagine God thinking it’s about time.
How about you? Is God calling you to an unparalleled obedience in this season—a time of walking the straight line of faith? No chasing a distant fire but, instead, staying firmly on the God-ordained path in front of you and making sure that any misstep is quickly confessed and corrected so that you don’t forgo the next glory God has in store for you?
I do believe that an unparalleled obedience to God and his rule is a requirement for a growing faith. I also believe that we sometimes don’t take it as seriously as we should. Casual obedience fosters casual faith—a sloppy belief system that cripples us instead of equipping us. Too much of that kind of monkeying around and we’ll find ourselves outside of Canaan and on the road toward captivity.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live free. Funny thing . . . to live there, I must live an unparalleled obedience to the King, chained to his heart, his Word, and his forever. However he loves. Whatever he says. Wherever he lives. Here is where I will wait. The next move belongs to God, and my eyes are fixed in anticipation of his glorious revelation. Greater still, my will is ready to obey.
Indeed, I think it’s about time. As always . . .
Peace for the journey,
PS: For a free, Kindle download of the first book in Lynn Austins’ series, Gods and Kings, click here!