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A LONG OBEDIENCE IN THE SAME DIRECTION

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A Long Obedience In The Same Direction
by Eugene Peterson

Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian disciples is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier Christians called holiness.

Religion in our time has been captured by the tourist mindset. Religion is understood as a visit to an attractive site to be made when we have adequate leisure. For some it is a weekly jaunt to church; for other, occasional visits to special services.

‘The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is … that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.’ It is this ‘long obedience in the same direction; which the mood of the world does so much to discourage.”