In observance of my Benedictine Monastic practices, on the last Friday of each month in 2019 we’re walking Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility. With each step we come closer to our spiritual transformation and the perfect love of God.
This Third Step of Humility is a direct application of our previous Second Step: Step Three involves setting aside our personal desires to imitate Christ in doing God’s will. Father Benedict puts it this way:
Submit to your superior in all obedience for the love of God, imitating the Lord of whom the Apostle Paul says: He became obedient even to death (Philippians 2:8). ~ Rule of Benedict 7:34
An obedient, submissive heart increases our openness to receiving directions for our daily life. This applies to our relationships with a supervisor, teacher or parent. But before we can express our obedience by complying with a command, we must first listen. Most importantly we must listen to our Heavenly Father who will in turn help us obey our earthly authorities.
In humility we must promptly and cheerfully obey with no grumbling or reluctance. These humble attempts to live according to God’s will prepares our soul not only to walk with God today, but for eternity as well.
IN A MONK IN THE WORLDWE ARE LEARNING THE TEACHINGS AND PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN MONASTICISM AND HOW WE CAN APPLY THEM TO OUR LIVES OUTSIDE THE MONASTERY WALLS. TODAY WE’RE FOCUSING ON the vow of Obedience.
Closely linked to Step 2 of Humility is the discipline of obedience. In the Benedictine monastic community the members profess three vows: obedience, stability and a life of on-going conversion. Implicit in these are the evangelical vows of chastity and poverty.
Obedience… is not one of our favorite words. Most of us like to think we don’t have to follow all the rules. Some would even say rules are made to be broken. But the truth is most rules are made to protect us from something.
The root word of obedience is a Latin word for listen. When we want someone to obey us we are really asking them to listen to us. Thinking in this way obedience doesn’t seem so harsh. Isn’t this all God is asking of us? That we listen to Him? After all, He has our best interest in mind when He asks us to do something.
In the book of Romans the Apostle Paul says obedience comes from faith, (1:5) faith comes from hearing God’s Word (10:17) and that we are mutually encouraged by each other’s faith (1:12). Which leads us to our next point.
In the spirit of Benedictine obedience, I should practice “mutual obedience” obeying not only those in authority over me but also my fellow brothers and sisters. This fosters harmony in our communities and households. When we see others as the voice of God we will be better listeners.
Obedience is not what we expect from others, it is what we do ourselves for others… Obedience says: Set aside what you are doing. Focus your attention on the person before you to discern what God is asking you to do. (St. Benedict’s Toolbox)**
Our response to obedience must be joyful and spontaneous. More than the action itself, what matters is the attitude of our heart. When we respond without grumbling, replacing competitiveness with consideration we can live a life of obedience as Saint Benedict teaches in his Rule.
**St. Benedicts Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living by Jane Tomaine Monk Habits for Everyday People: Benedictine Spirituality for Protestants by Dennis Okholm How to be a Monastic and Not Leave your Day Job by Br. Benet Tvedten
In the Living Life Lessons columneach month I’m sharing various lessons God has taught me over these last eight years. Today I want to talk about living effective lives.
Whether we recognize it or not our lives effect others. If we want to have a healthy effect on our circle of influence we need to take care how we live.
Our strategy for effective living begins with SEEKING WISDOM. Some of us were fortunate to have parents that taught us right from wrong, others maybe not. So where can we find wisdom? The Bible says that wisdom comes from fearing God. This isn’t the trembling-in-your-boots kind of fear, but rather a reverential fear–appreciating God for who He is. The second requirement in our strategy for effective living is MORAL APPLICATION. Once we have reverential fear we begin trusting in God. By allowing His Word to speak to us personally we come to place of obedience. Our heart lines up with what Scripture says, our spirit is convicted by the Holy Spirit and that makes us ready for changed actions. The third requirement for effective living is PRACTICAL APPLICATION. Our hearts have been softened by God’s Word, we’ve sought His wisdom and have begun to obey in our actions. These are often challenges to our daily lives. For me the only answer is to keep God’s Word close to my heart and mind throughout the day. That may mean carrying a 3×5 Scripture card with me everywhere I go. Results of practicing the above three steps is a healthy, positive and EFFECTIVE LIFE. How do we know? We will begin to actually experience what God does as He honors our obedience. It may not happen right away but we must trust, have faith and expect to see God’s blessing pour out. Just like earthly parents, God loves when His children are obedient and He promises to give us a reward! Over the last few years I’ve been able to put these steps into practice. There have been times when it was easy and other times, like now, were more difficult. Today God has me under His refining fire again, taking me to a higher level, which always means change and a deeper surrender to His will for my life. But as I’m working this process again, I’m going back to what I know works… pulling out my 3×5 cards and relearning some lessons.
My child, listen to me and do as I say and you will have a long, good life. I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. If you live a life guided by wisdom, you won’t limp or stumble as you run. Carry out my instructions; don’t forsake them. Guard them, for they will lead you to a fulfilled life. ~ Proverbs 4: 10-12
Do you have a system in place that helps you make needed changes in your life?
If you can’t see the video screen below CLICK HERE for one of my new favorite Hillsong videos!
RESOURCES: Life Application Study Bible Life Recovery Bible