There is a certain imperative in the Gospel of Jesus Christ which demands “Now.”
- Dr. John Niehof
“At the next commercial.”
“Wait a minute.”
I am a “now” kind of person, but I think that God creates each of us with different timing in our body clocks.
Some folks are past oriented. They live in the past. They think about the past. They specialize in “arm-chair quarterback” roles, rethinking and re-evaluating the past based upon information from today’s vantage point. Other people have a “rear-view mirror” approach to the past that views a by-gone era of yesteryear through rose-colored glasses filled with nostalgia and longing.
I have known some who are dreamers and planners for the future. They become so consumed with retirement plans, savings, and dreams, that they disconnect from the present. All too often, when that uncertain future arrives, unexpected disease and premature death suddenly alter the course of life, plans for the future evaporate.
Others negatively speculate about worst-case scenarios, always imagining the looming tragedy ahead. When channeled properly, this bent of temperament manages risk and prevents exposure to liability.
Time is a gift from God. The Psalmist prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 NKJV).
What is your orientation toward time and obedience to God? Do you procrastinate? Do you obey the moment the Holy Spirit prompts you?
The only moment that we have is NOW. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
Samuel told King Saul, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22b NKJV). Saul was tired of waiting for his prophet-priest Samuel. He impatiently and recklessly offered sacrifice to God in order to calm his soldiers. In his rashness, King Saul usurped priestly authority, rushed ahead of God, and was harshly rebuked for his disobedience.
God wants followers. That means we follow Jesus—immediately. We don’t procrastinate. We don’t run ahead of God. Immediate obedience.
One of the fascinating features of the Gospel of Mark is the use of the word “immediately” in our English transitions. Mark uses “Immediately” so frequently that you have to put your head on a swivel to keep up with the rapid fire action.
- “Immediately” upon Jesus baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove.
- “Immediately” after His baptism, the Holy Spirit catapulted Him into the desert for 40 days of temptation.
- When Jesus called Simon and Andrew to follow Him, they “immediately” left their fishing nets and followed Him.
- When Jesus called James and John to follow Him, they “immediately” left their fishing boat and their father to follow Jesus.
- Jesus arrived in Capernaum, and “immediately” went to synagogue on Sabbath.
- Jesus healed the demon-possessed, and his fame spread “immediately” throughout the Galilee.
- Jesus prayed for Peter’s ill mother-in-law, and she was healed “immediately.”
- Jesus spoke to the leprous man, touched him, and “immediately” the man was cleansed and healed from leprosy.
- And that is just chapter 1 of the Gospel of Mark.
Fast-paced. Action. Intense. Obedient. Prompt.
I was privileged to serve the same Christian college for 23 years. In 2012, a close friend, a pastor, died prematurely at age 51. My friend was on a mission's trip to Nicaragua, had a massive heart attack, and returned to the States in a coffin. As I gazed upon his lifeless form in the coffin, I knew that I could no longer remain where I was comfortable and be living in obedience to Jesus. Through my friend’s death, Jesus called my wife and me to leave everything and follow Him. It took us 6 months of prayer and discernment to understand God’s next step, but when the path was clear, we obeyed… immediately.
God wants our obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
There is a certain imperative in the Gospel of Jesus Christ which demands “Now.” Are you living in obedience to the commands of Christ in your life?