September is a time of transition. The summer holidays are over, and we are faced with going back to old routines or the challenge of coping with new ones. Sometimes it is hard to see God at work in our lives in what to us seems mundane or testing. In his book of the same name, Eugene Peterson uses the phrase, “a long obedience in the same direction” to describe the essence of Christian discipleship. He claims that everything in the gospels is “livable” i.e. everything we read about what Jesus said, and did, we can apply to our everyday lives.
Eugene recognises that the bible is not just to be read and studied, but it is to be lived. He learned that for himself this was going to take time and so to use his own words, “he settled in for the long haul”.
Making the gospel “livable” means using it as a lens for our daily choices. Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52) whilst he was just a humble carpenter. He chose to live the gospel in the main and plain of His everyday life for thirty years before his public ministry started.
Christian formation ultimately doesn’t come through one off experiences or actions. It comes through a lifestyle of small choices, steps that orientate us towards the things that “please the Lord” (Ephesian 5:10). As we think about our own lives, routines and responsibilities in this season we can ask God to help us see them as part of the Holy Spirits’ transforming work in us. One of the greatest witnesses we can show to others is to display godliness over the long haul in the every-day course of our lives. True discipleship is about following Jesus persistently and passionately, just as Jesus followed his own Father.
So, whatever this season holds for you, know that the Lord is there with you and that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all…” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Simon & Keely