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Obedience Unto Death by Rita Ford
“Obedience Unto Death” by Rita Ford

The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.

+ Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”

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I accept not in my feelings – but with my will, the Will of God.
I accept His will – not only for time but for eternity.

+ Mother Teresa, Letter dated August 1,1964

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It’s time to check-in and reflect on progress (or lack thereof) in the Battle for Purity.

HOW AM I DOING PHYSICALLY?

I have to say that I am feeling good today.  I am enjoying a successful recovery to the knee surgery I had in December.  That means I can run again and get that physical exercise that I need for an overall feeling of wellness.  I have also been sleeping well and that, too, helps me to feel good.

HOW AM I DOING EMOTIONALLY?

I am happy to report that I have been feeling good.  I have been very busy at my job.  This past year, and the past couple months in particular, has been a period of incredible productivity.  I have had major responsibilities for new marketing concepts and have experienced an increased sense of purpose and joy.  Of course this has also brought increased stress and anxiety.  But this is the sort of stress and anxiety that I can deal with.  It definitely beats the stress of not having good projects or enough work.

HOW AM I DOING SPIRITUALLY?

I don’t know.

I have really been struggling spiritually.  My prayer life has been dry and I have not been experiencing the sense of commitment, focus, and obedience that I have had at times in the past.  I have to acknowledge that this is a concern for me.  My goal is to be a man of God and to serve Christ.  But I don’t think you would see that in my life over the past several months.

This is where success at work can be a two-edged sword.  I am happy for the success and feel affirmed by the success, but I think it also leads me to divert my focus from God to myself.  I am in danger of forgetting that God is the source of my gifts and the giver of my success.  There is a great temptation to credit myself for these successes rather than acknowledging my Lord.  And I fear that this will cause me to lose the path of purity that I have been trying to walk upon.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

You are the giver of all good things.  You are my maker, my provider, and my Lord.  I give thanks to you for family, work, and the gifts and talents that you have given to me.  I thank you for my co-workers, friends, and accountability partners.  And I give thanks for the gift of free will.

Father, my desire is to follow you.  I offer to you my body as a living sacrifice.  Although you have given me the gift of free will, it is my desire to give myself to you in obedience.  I no longer want to question your ways or your commandments.  Instead, I seek only to know your will and to do your will.

Father, if it be your will, grant me the gift of purity for today.  Grant that I may seek to follow you instead of promoting me.  Grant that I may seek to love and serve others rather than seeking their love and approval.  Grant that I may seek you with the same heart as your Son, Jesus.

Amen

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But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and the gaps were beginning to be closed, they were very angry, and all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. So we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

+ Nehemiah 4:7-9

Prayer is a powerful tool in the fight against sexual sin and sexual addiction. But prayer is not a license to abandon responsibility. In prayer we admit our inadequacies and turn to the one true source of hope in our Battle against sexual sin. Still, we ourselves must take whatever steps lie within our own power to protect ourselves against the enemy.

  • We must identify those circumstances which leave us vulnerable to sexual temptation.

  • We must post a rear guard against those situations.

  • We must set up fire drills.

  • We must make daily phone calls.

  • We must be part of an accountability group.

  • And we must be honest with ourselves and our accountability group.

Yes, we can and should call on our Heavenly Father for help. And we must also do what we can in obedience to carry out the will of our Heavenly Father. We must actively engage in the Battle for Purity.

We are in danger of making prayer a substitute for duty; or of trying to roll over on God, the burden of caring for us and doing things for us–while we sit still and do nothing! When we pray to be delivered from temptation–we must keep out of the way of temptation, unless duty clearly calls us there. We must also guard against temptation, resist the Devil, and stand firm in obedience and faith. When we ask God for our daily bread, pleading the promise that we shall not lack–we must also labor to earn God’s bread, and thus make it ours honestly.

+ J.R. Miller

[For a wider discussion of this topic, see “Prayerfully Coming to Grips With Inadequacy Without Becoming Inactive” on the Desire Spiritual Growth Blog]

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The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
This is the virtue of those who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ.

+ Rule of Benedict, Chapter 5

The self-giving of real obedience is very clear to Benedict. When we follow the voice of the ones who call us to higher service, we put down our own concerns, allow ourselves to be led by the sights of another, treat our own best interests with a relaxed grasp. We empty ourselves so that the presence of God can come in, tangible and present and divinely human.

+ Joan Chittister, The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages

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Obedience Unto Death by Rita Ford
“Obedience Unto Death” by Rita Ford

The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience.

+ Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”

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As has been mentioned before in these notes, we each have a yearning in our hearts – a hole that aches to be filled. We try to fill it with many things: money, success, women, or sex. But none of these things can fill the hole because it is a God-shaped hole.

So how do we fill the hole?

Obedience.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

+John 14:23

+++

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