August 4, 2013

Lines (10)

Continuing notes from "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction"

Chapter 11  Perseverance   Psalm 129

"Patience is drawing on underlying forces; it is powerfully positive, though to a natural view it looks like just sitting it out.  How would I persist against positive eroding forces if I were not drawing on invisible forces? And patience has a positive tonic effect on others; because of the presence of the patient person, they revive and go on, as if he were the gyroscope of the ship providing a stable ground.  But the patient person himself does not enjoy it." ~ Paul Goodman

pg. 122  Isaiah 53 paints a picture of someone extremely - painfully - persecuted and rejected and yet overcoming and righteous.  "The person of faith outlasts all the oppressors.  Faith lasts."

pgs 123-124  "Stick-to-it-iveness. Perseverance. Patience.  The way of faith is not a fad that is taken up in one century only to be discarded in the next.  It lasts.  It is a way that works. It has been tested thoroughly."

pg 125  "The life of the world that is opposed or indifferent to God is barren and futile. The way of the world is cataloged with proud, god-defying purposes, unharnessed from eternity, and therefore worthless & futile." 

pg 126  "The person who makes excuses for the hypocrites and rationalizes the excesses of the wicked, who loses a sense of opposition to sin, who obscures the difference between faith and denial, of grace and selfishness - that is the person to be wary of.  For if there is not all that much difference between the way of faith and the way of the world, there is not much use in making any effort to stick to it.  We drift on the tides of convenience. We float on fashion."

pg 127  "Perseverance does not mean perfect. It means that we keep going."
"For perseverance is not resignation, putting up with things the way they are, staying in teh same old rut year after year after year, or being a doormat for people to wipe their feet on.  Endurance is not a desperate hanging on but a traveling from strength to strength.  There is  nothing fatigued of humdrum in Isaiah, nothing flat-footed in Jesus, nothing jejune in Paul.  Perseverance is triumphant and alive."
      **I really grasp this more fully as I get older... we do not just carry on pitifully in our faith - we are conquerors in our struggles because of Christ and it is His strength that carries us on and sustains us in the battle.

pg 128  "The central reality for Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment that God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God's faithfulness."

pg 129   In Hebrews we see a litany of people who lived by faith - people who centered their lives on the righteous God who is faithful through all things and by this they were able to persevere.  They had steadiness of purpose and admirable integrity - not that they never faltered, failed and sinned, but that by God's faithfulness they learned faithfulness.  Out of this we then read Hebrews 12: 1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

pg 130  Purposes last - Christian faith allows us to build on the organizing center of life - God, in all His righteousness. "Christian discipleship is a decision to walk in His ways... It is the way of life we were created for.  There are endless challenges in it to keep us on the growing edge of faith; there is always a righteous God with us to make it possible for us to persevere."