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Radical Obedience

Don’t you hate it when the Lord tells you something, and you realize that He had already told you that same thing like 9 years ago, and you haven’t been living it out.

Last week the Lord spoke the phrase to me, “Radical Obedience.”

Right as He was saying it, I looked over and saw a man with an eye patch in the church service.  I felt compelled to pray for for him - but, dude, it’s during the service, he’s in the middle of prayer-central - surely he’s had people all up in his business over-and-over again.  Yep - lots of excuses, and no action.

The next day I’m in the prayer room.  There he is again. Did I pray for him this time? No.  ARRRRR! What is my deal? It’s like 1996 all over again - I’ve gotten past this before, and I’ve seen some crazy awesome things of the Lord as a result.  Matter of fact…

I guess it was probably in mid ‘98, I was asked to speak at a youth conference, right as the Lord was really working some crazy obedience stuff in me, and asking me to do some really (possibly) humiliating things.  The title of the message was “Radical Obedience”.  About a week later, I’m at a pizza place with some friends (Derek Graves, Zach Drinkwitz, and Corey Russell - I believe is who it was), and we’re eating our pizza, and the Lord draws my attention very heavily to a group of three professional-looking middle-aged women, and highlights one of them in particular.  Then He told me,

“She is considering adultery - tonight.  The guy has been advancing, and she’s not happy in her marriage, and she’s going to say ‘Yes’ to the guy at work today when she gets back… and I want you to tell her that I know, and that her marriage will turn around for the better.”

Oh, Lord - how in the world do you say something like that to someone?  I fully expected that I wouldn’t be able to follow through with it, and that if I did, I would get slapped - at least.  So, I told the guys at the table that the Lord was giving me “a word” for someone in the restaurant, but that it was a really hard one, and that I needed some divine boldness to do it.  They prayed for me, and before we were even done, the three ladies get up and start to leave.  The guys are still praying for me, and the ladies are paying… now they’re walking out… and I jump up and pursue them.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I say as she’s just about to slide into the passenger seat of the car.

“Yes?” she said.

And I told her what the Lord told me to tell her, forcing myself to resist years of martial arts training, and preparing myself to just take the slaps and resist my instincts to throw some blocks.

She began to cry, subtly, controlled, professional-like, but she cried; she didn’t say a word as she got back into the car, and they drove off.  Who knows where that lady and her husband (yes, Lord) are at today, but the point of that story is, dude - if I could deliver that word, why can’t I handle the humiliation of being “Captain Obvious” and asking this guy if I can pray for his eye.

I just found out yesterday, when telling Robin about this, that she and Gideon (my almost 5-year-old) had noticed that same man at a service last week.  Gideon told Robin that he wanted to pray for the man to “get a new eye”.  They didn’t go up to the guy, but, they did stop what they were doing and prayed right then and there.  That’s more than I did.  When I didn’t have the full measure of boldness and faith to approach the guy, I didn’t even bother to pray from a distance.

I once heard a great line during a young adult bible study.  Matthew Putman was teaching, and he said, “Humility comes from humiliation.”  Why don’t we ever equate these two words; they’re obviously from the same root.

The Lord is looking for people who are willing to be humiliated; for people who will give Him a chance to be glorified.  Though we are weak, He is strong.  In our weakness, strength is perfected. We have to step out of the boat. We have to lay hands on the sick and see them recover.  The worst case scenario?  I must decrease so that Christ may increase.

I’ll try to put a crazy story up that is along these same lines, about a friend named Steve Evans, and what the Lord asked him to do in China.  But that’s all for now, except for this request.  Just like that day in the pizza place:

Please pray for me to have boldness, grace, and the manifest power of God.  I will be praying for this man, soon.


Comment from Anthony
Time: June 17, 2007, 1:15 pm

Just do it.

Comment from alexis
Time: June 17, 2007, 4:07 pm

wow,that took a lot of faith … im proud of Gid . at least your working on it and i will pray for you. much love,alexis

Comment from Jessica Weisenfels
Time: June 17, 2007, 8:24 pm

Aaron, as I am the chief sinner, and someone who can only hope to someday attain the level of faith and surety that you certainly possess, please know that I am aware of my own overstepping of Christian humility in even writing this comment, and hear what I say with all the charity your heart possesses. (…or you can just delete this comment after you read it, with my humblest apologies for any offense.)

My question is this:
Is this man, with this eye-patch not exceedingly blessed in his affliction? Does it not take more faith to live with an eye patch than to demand or expect a miracle? Would it not be more of a miracle for this man to learn to patient, kind and humble even when continually afflicted, continually pointed out? How miraculous is it to be a good man when one has an excuse to be a bitter one? If “humilty comes from humiliation” than this man, with what must be constant staring and question-asking, must be blessed with the humility of Christ Himself. A surgeon can replace an eye, but a surgeon cannot make a person holy, replace a lost faith or revive a dampened spirit. And these things are more important than eyesight, or breath or life, for in these things lies a resounding truth of Heaven; that he who seems afflicted may have a faith that stands in the face of such affliction and says “though He slay me…yet I will trust in Him”. In this sort of faith, so contrary to our own bent natures, truly radical obedience can be found.

With humility and sincere respect,
Jessica Weisenfels.

OR maybe the dude’s just a sniper trying to make one eye stronger….it’s possible.

Comment from Bill Shure
Time: June 17, 2007, 9:42 pm

Funny thing about radical obed.- it’s really just supposed to be the ‘normal Christian life’. What is it about us that makes us so unwilling to be normal? Stinkin’ pride will starve us out every time! Thanks for being so candid- Love you guys,Bill

Comment from Aaron
Time: June 17, 2007, 10:26 pm

Jessica - I absolutely agree with what you are saying.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory”
2 Corinthians 4:17

This coming from the guy, who history tells us, had his own eye problems as well - and called things like being beat with rods and stoned to be left for dead “light afflictions”.

My post, however, was coming from my “first person” point of view, and that the Lord was asking ME to approach the guy - not the other way around. Both times I’ve seen the gentlemen there were calls for “anyone sick in the room who would like to receive prayer, stand up and people around you will pray with you”; He didn’t stand up either time. (Which is one of the main reasons I justified not praying for him - honoring his wishes, etc.)

If I was struck with such an affliction, I pray that I would try to find the humility and “eternal weight of glory” in it. But, as the afflicted, and the currently pre-afflicted, I would still believe that the Lord intended for us to “lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mark 16:18). And, also, in context of this verse, I believe OBEDIENCE is a key…

You’re not going to catch me running around picking up snakes and drinking poison just because it says “those that believe” will do these things and not be harmed. I think that “will” means “it’s going to happen, when they are doing what I’ve asked them to do, and when it’s My will to handle it in such a way.” Not a free ticket (I couldn’t remember how to spell.. uh.. cart blance), every single time, kind of promise.

My point is, though - I want to be one who gives the Lord opportunities - by listening to Him, and doing what His word (both written and spoken) asks me to do.

And, he does kind of look like a sniper-type… maybe you’re on to something. We love the Weisenfels!

Comment from Nyla
Time: June 18, 2007, 11:40 am

Aaron, I once asked an ultra-bold lady (she scoffed when I said that, she thought she was a chicken. If she was a chicken I don’t even want to know how I’d be classified!) to pray for me for boldness and she did but she also told me that boldness was simply the belief that God loves everyone else as much as He loves me. I was stunned by that statement! So now I pray for revelation of how much God loves me AND for boldness to share that with others. :)

Comment from cheryl scott
Time: June 18, 2007, 9:47 pm

Aaron, you are authentic…the real deal. I love you and your family !!! the WALK OF FAITH…a journey.. cs

Comment from Emily Hankin
Time: June 28, 2007, 10:06 am

WOW - I’m seeing all the names of people I love and hold dear to my heart, Jessica, Cheryl and Bill (not to mention Aaron and Robin) Why is it in life that we lose touch with relationships? Arent’ they supposed to be the “currency” of heaven?

Comment from Aaron
Time: June 28, 2007, 10:14 am

Okay, maybe this is just an excuse for me not being as “contactually relational” as some would like - but, think of it this way:

We have ETERNITY to hang out with our believing friends and family!

Yeah - I know - that’s just an okay guy’s excuse to not have to be very hospitable. But, on a serious side of that: that thought is one that should keep us willing and interested in investing some of our relational time and energy into pre-believers and believers who are in a season of needing specific encouragement, exhortation, and/or equipping - as oppose to the human tendency to “clique up”.

Not that you were suggesting clique’s… wow… I digressed. That’s probably what like 18 hours of driving in a 5 day period will do to you.

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