Presence Devotion #39


Gritty Obedience

Jody Destry

Luke 9:51-56


Have you ever encountered a situation or season in your life where its taken every ounce of courage and determination to not give up but to keep marching on, to keep moving towards whatever was waiting for you on the other side? Have you ever found yourself in a season that felt so completely out-of-your-comfort-zone daunting, yet so absolutely right at the same time?

Me too.

In this scripture, Jesus begins his journey towards Jerusalem. This isn’t just any journey. This is the single most significant journey Jesus would make. Jerusalem wasn’t just any city. Jerusalem would be the place of His death and he knew it. He knew the time was coming and in his humanity I can’t help but wonder about how he experienced that moment as he ‘set his face’ toward the City that would see him crucified.  Jesus knew what was ahead of him and knew that this is what the Father had called and purposed him to do but despite the foreknowledge surely Jesus felt daunted, overwhelmed, heavy hearted even in the midst of knowing that he was exactly where he was supposed to be.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me hope. Knowing that Jesus too faced overwhelming challenges and obstacles in his life yet He persevered, persisted and overcame each and every one to fulfill the call on His life. “Well it’s easy for Him he’s God he can do anything’ Yes, AND he was also 100% human and experienced the same emotions and feelings as we do.

Jesus demonstrates through His life and even more so through his death what gritty obedience looks like. What it looks like to resolutely set your face upon the finish line. It looks like setting your face towards the future, towards the current challenges you might be facing, towards the disappointments and the failures, towards the mountain or the land filled with giants and mustering every ounce of courage and focus to put one foot in front of the other and march on. It looks like resolve.

But, on our own we will fail, we will be overwhelmed and we will lose heart and give up. What a great relief to know that perfection is not our quest! Too often we fall into the trap of striving to live up to a standard we will never reach, we are ensnared by guilt  of not quite ever measuring up, not quite ever being enough. But there is good news! There is freedom for us today for He has already accomplished it. Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, has made a way for us.  It’s only by the continuous outpouring of His grace that we can even begin to scratch the surface of what it means to live a life of faith. Perhaps it’s time for us to come to the chair again and acknowledge our great need for God – to come in humility and allow Him to lead us on.

Jesus didn’t face this challenge alone. Nor did he muster the courage in his own strength or ability. In fact it was just the opposite. The reason Jesus could set his face toward Jerusalem at all is because He’d been with the Father. He’d withdrawn from the crowd time and time again to sit with God, to be in His presence, to wrestle over the challenges of what was to come and to be filled and equipped for journey that awaited him. The journey that would set us free.

Jesus had ‘been’ and now he was getting up out His chair again to action what God had called Him to do. What an incredible example to us of what practicing the presence of God is all about. Being , then doing.

Reflective Questions

  1. What is God asking to get back up out of your chair for?
  2. What things do you need to action?If you lived with gritty obedience how would your life look different to how it looks now?