The “Nowness” of Obedience

Hiker standing by the sea on a stormy day

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What could I do, King Agrippa? I couldn’t just walk away from a vision like that! I became an obedient believer on the spot. I started preaching this life-change—this radical turn to God and everything it meant in everyday life—right there in Damascus, went on to Jerusalem and the surrounding countryside, and from there to the whole world. Acts 26: 19-20 Message

This morning I read portions of Acts 26. Paul is speaking to King Agrippa and defending his actions. He talks about seeing a heavenly vision so powerful that it forever changed him and, at that moment, there was only one choice: to walk in obedience.

These words in the commentary for today’s devotional stood out to me.

The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest—our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision…Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God…The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. (YouVersion)

As I read this, I was reminded of the current message series at church.  We’ve been spending the last few Sundays looking at God’s providence through the story of Joseph.  Talk about receiving a “vision that tarries.” Joseph’s life portrays this so well.  One of the quotes I wrote down last Sunday was “Joseph lives in the ‘nowness’ of obedience.”  And, he , over and over, chose to be obedient despite chaotic circumstances that, on the surface, looked nothing like the vision he was given.   As Paul explains his actions to King Agrippa in the statement above, I thought how Paul chose to do the same thing Joseph chose to do.

God, whatever life throws at me…I choose to hold on tightly to Your promises.  

Another quote I wrote down last Sunday explains this so well, “no matter the ‘now’ we are in, we must find a way to express our deepest commitment.”

Paul and Joseph understood this.  They held tightly to the “heavenly visions” they were given. They remembered God’s promises in the midst of all the storms and suffering they had to face. Why?  Because they knew the truth that God is still God and God is still good even when life doesn’t make sense. They knew that obedience has nothing to do with fully understanding the ‘why’ of their situations.  They fully trusted that God had their backs despite their limited human perspective and understanding.

Lord, help us to hold firmly to the promise You have given us.  Help us to grasp this with a depth of knowledge that only comes from Your Spirit.  Help us to proclaim every day, the same answer Paul shared with King Agrippa.  What choice do I have but to now walk down this path of obedience?

If you are interested you can listen to the entire Sunday message I quote HERE

2 thoughts on “The “Nowness” of Obedience

  1. Dave Arnold

    I like this idea, Eileen. Obedience is now, even when it doesn’t make sense. Really enjoy your blog. Oh, and forgot to mention, I quoted from your blog for my new eBook coming out next month. It’s the one where you quoted Shauna Nyquist (I think that’s her name ?).
    Let me know if you’d be interested in helping me launch my book. God bless!

  2. Betty Draper

    Eileen, I am always encouraged, challenged and even convicted when I stop by to see what words the Lord gave you to type out. I cannot think of a better perspective to hold on to then, “they knew the truth that God is still God and God is still good even when life doesn’t make sense.” The pastor I got saved under use to end his sermons with phrase, ” God is good, and the congregation would say, “all the time.” Good words sis, good words.


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