It probably doesn’t happen to you. But every time I decide to follow Jesus in some new direction or with some deeper devotion, something goes wrong. It may be little, like forgotten car keys, it may be middle-sized, like a headache, it may be large, like a flood or a death. But something always happens.
Here are some things I try to remember at those times.
- Any movement in a new direction means you run into things that aren’t moving. Expect resistance from inertia, your own and others.
- I always forget things. That just seems like an obstacle when I’m trying something new.
- Following Jesus always results in cultural clashes; it’s a mark of progress, not failure. Everything he did was counter to some culture.
- Changing more than Jesus calls me to change means I’m running in front of him. When I decide to not eat any sugar and get up at 6 every morning and read five chapters of the Bible every night and run three miles every night and be patient with everyone who asks me questions, I’m going to miss.
- Obedience is as much about how I do as it is about what I do. Not either/or, but both/and. So how I respond to the lost keys or the headache or the flood are a reflection of the progress I’m making in following.
- Looking at what God says to do may be more important than deciding what I want to do for God. God doesn’t say, “the way to get spiritual is to go to church.” Of course, God also doesn’t say that the body doesn’t matter. So, what does God say about our connections with other followers? Look.
- Growth is always a process. Tripping is part of learning to walk. Confession is part of learning to obey.