Tag Archives: “a long obedience in the same direction”

Portrait of a Template

Gottfried Torboch – Jeweled Cruciform Watch with Rock Crystal Case – Walters 5827

Dear Readers,

For several years, I have pondered two great mysteries, abbreviated in two brief phrases:

We are in Christ.   AND    Christ is in us.

Below I have listed, in context, [merely] two of the Scripture passages, which reflect these two great mysteries:

Colossians 1:  24-29

“Now, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake and, in my flesh, I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. 

Of this church I was made a minister, according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 

that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 

to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 

For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.”

 Colossians 3:1-4  

“Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. 

Think about the things above and not things on earth. 

You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”


How can two positional realities [Christ in us and We are in Christ] represent one essential truth?

The Crucifixion contains the answer:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” [Galatians 2.20]

It is through the transforming power of the Cross that “we are in Christ” and also that “Christ is in us:”

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  [1 Corinthians 6.19-20]

What is our response to the purchase of God, paid on our behalf?

What is our response to the ransom of God:  the payment which freed us from the tyranny of sin and death?

Recognizing that we are no longer “our own,” we are to lead Cruciform lives, in costly obedience.

The shape to which I am conforming must be the Cruciform Life and nothing less:

It is not merely a difficult life; it is an impossible life! [Quote from unknown source].

Yes, impossible, I say — save, that is, for the transforming power of the Resurrected Christ.

I must remain malleable, if I am to be formed, conformed, and transformed into the template of the Cruciform Life.

I must willingly offer myself up as “broken bread and poured-out wine:”  

I offer myself up to be placed within and poured within the shape, the mold, the template of the Cross.

This is the “thanksgiving,” the offering of myself, to the Holy Trinity:  It is “the glad surrender.”

How long does this process, this Cruciform transformation, require?

“My children, with whom I am again in labor, until Christ is formed in you.”  [Galatians 4:19]

“Complete in Christ.”  

“Until Christ is formed in you:”  

How long does this process require?   A lifetime, I think, of  “a long obedience in the same direction.”

Coram Deo,


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Filed under The Cost of Discipleship, theology and doxology

The Sacred and the Mundane

September 2, 1973 – September 2, 2012

Dear Readers,

Tomorrow, My Professor and I will celebrate thirty-nine years of marriage.  Every year, on our wedding anniversary, I share with my readers an essential quote or a story about Courtship, Engagement, Love, or Marriage.

Click here to read the most important quote you will ever read on Love and Marriage, representing the sacramental aspect of marriage.

My story, It Began With Roses, highlights the romance of love and courtship.

In Not a Word, I share with my readers the humor within a marriage.

Sometimes marriage is a serious, solemn commitment, which I describe in  Unsung Heroes.

Marriage is sacred but it is also mundane:

“For all its joys, any intense friendship or marriage has aspects that can seem burdensome.  

There is not only an investment of time, but an investment of self that is required for a relationship to exist and grow and flourish.  

Even more difficult than the physical accommodations are the accommodations of identity:  from the perspective of individual “freedom,” to be in a relationship of love will change us and cost us.  

It will require us to restructure our priorities.  

It may compromise our plans.  

It will demand sacrifice.  

It will alter the pattern of our thoughts and desires and may transform our vision of the world.  

It’s not just ‘your life’ or ‘my life’ anymore — it’s ‘ours.’  

Seen in this light, it can seem that staying at arm’s length and not engaging or investing would seem easier and safer — even if ultimately unhappier — than risking openness to love’s transforming power and answering its claims on us.

Sometimes marriage or other friendships feel euphoric and energizing:  other times, they are tedious, empty, wearying routines, or just plain work.  

The point is that being committed to any love relationship takes daily nurturing, daily effort, and daily practices that build it up.  

Neglecting these will slowly break the relationship down.  

Nurturing grudges or selfish claims instead will erode it and make us resentful of a relationship that now feels like a suffocating trap.  

Kathleen Norris once said that married love is “eternal, but it’s also daily, about as daily and unromantic as housekeeping.”  

It is through daily practices and disciplines, whether we feel like doing them or not, that the decision to love is renewed and refreshed, and the commitment of love is kept alive.”

[From the book, Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies, by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung, Brazos Press, 2009.]

The vocation of Marriage is both sacred and eternal.

But in practical terms, we live out our vocation of Marriage in the daily and mundane.

May we be faithful in living out the vocation of marriage:  “a long obedience in the same direction.”  

Coram Deo,


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