What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Obedience Remorse and The Opposite Trajectories of Sin and Holiness

Last week I was talking with a friend about the whole idea that Jesus makes demands of us. He asked me a great question: had I ever regretted submitting to the demands/commands of God?

I've continued to think on that question. Have I ever regretted saying yes to God, even when it was really hard?

I think that there have been times in the immediate aftermath of a hard decision where I've have "obedience remorse." What did I do?!? This stinks! It's hard or painful or I feel deeply the loss of something.

But I can't think of any time when I've made a decision to obey where, eventually, I didn't come to a place of, at best, tremendous joy, or at worse a sense of peace. Even when all the ends don't tie up completely, and there are questions that still linger, I've been able to come to a place where I am settled in having obeyed--that's good enough.

This brings me back to what I think is a core principle of the universe. Sin operates under the law of diminishing returns. It starts easy. But, like any addiction, you need more and more of it to continue to have the desired effect. Eventually, it ends in utter hollowness.

Holiness, on the other hand, starts hard. It's a narrow gate, a challenge to take those first faltering steps. But as holiness unfolds, it grows in depth and impact and power. As we walk this way, it opens up to places of greater wonder and joy.

This isn't a linear process--more like fits and starts. But the trajectories of sin and the trajectories of hoilness are pretty much predictable. It's just hard to remember that when you're faced with the situation in real-time.

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