Thursday, August 1, 2013

1/10th of a mile short of obedience

One day last week when my training schedule called for a day of rest, the weather was too glorious to waste.  When I got up at six, the temperature was a delightful 59 degrees.  I stood on the screen porch and breathed in the deep crisp air like drinking a glass of ice water.  After several weeks of heavy, hot and humid air, this was like winning the weather lottery.  I rushed through my early morning responsibilities, laced up my shoes, grabbed my hat, and I was gone.

It felt like running through air conditioning.  I needed to do eight miles in preparation for my long run that Friday.  When I hit Main Street, my watch registered 3.9 miles. Time to turn around.  It is not worth the effort to cross the intersection just for 1/10 of a mile.  No need, I thought initially.  I found myself justifying the gap.

A tenth of a mile is not a big deal, typically measuring about the length of a city block.  On this particular trail, I could even SEE  the four mile mark, the big oak tree where to turn around.  Would it make that much difference if I didn't finish it off?  But what if it did?  What if that teeny little tenth of a mile made the difference in completing this marathon or not?  Would that motivate me to go that extra block?

I decided to finish it fully.  As I crossed the street, I thought about my reading this summer in the Old Testament about the kings of Judah.  Even most of the good kings, Scripture says, "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but the high places were not taken away."

"But" is the one-tenth mile short of full obedience.  The people worshiped the LORD, but they also served the idols.

What does God's Word say about fully following Him?  I don't see the words "kinda" or "sort of" listed in Scripture.  When we tell ourselves, "it doesn't matter," God basically says, "What part of obedience don't you understand?"  It is not about adhering to rules, but knowing God has a reason for it.

"And if you obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all the commandments which I command you this day...And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God..."  Deuteronomy 28. 1-2

We are all in favor of full blessings overtaking us.  But what comes first?  Obedience.  Not kinda, sort of, but "love the LORD your God with ALL of your heart, and ALL of your soul, and ALL of your mind, and ALL of your strength."  Follow Me fully.  Take it out that last tenth of a mile.

What if the kings of Judah had followed fully?  What if, I do?

I may never see what difference it makes.  But God promises, it does.

I don't want any regrets at mile 17 of the marathon with 9.2 miles to go.  Nor any regrets as our grandchildren grow up. I want them to know what following fully looks like.

Take obedience out fully that last tenth of a mile.  And watch what God does with it.

...that you may be filled
with all the fulness of God.

               Ephesians 3.19

Has the LORD as great delight
in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
   to obey is better than sacrifice,
   and to hearken than the fat of rams.

                           1 Samuel 15. 22

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