Obedience comes First

I've been reading "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer during Lent this year. It is one of those books that I've started several times, but never made it through, so this year will be the year. Here is part of what I read last night:

"Neighborliness is not a quality in other people, it is simple their claim on ourselves. Every moment and every situation challenges us to action and to obedience. We have literally no time to sit down and ask ourselves whether so-and-so is our neighbor or not. We must get into action and obey-we must behave like a neighbor to him. But perhaps this shocks you. Perhaps you still think you ought to think out beforehand and know what you ought to do. To that there is only one answer. You can only know and think about it by actually doing it. You can only learn what obedience is by obeying. It is no use asking questions; for it is only through obedience that you come to learn the truth."
I think in many ways that is what I learned through baptism. I struggled and thought about it for many years, and I do think those years were useful, but I never really figured it out. I knew in my head that it was something I was supposed to do, but I didn't really understand it in my heart. But I finally went ahead and did it anyway, I took the step of obedience.

I still don't really understand it, I don't think many people do, but I do now understand the importance of it in my heart. I can't really explain why it is important, but I know it is. It took that step of obedience first. It is only now that I can "know and think about it."

It does seem backward in someways, I want to be able to sit down and figure everything out and then, only after that, I can step out and do it, whatever it is. But instead Bonhoeffer is saying we must step out in obedience first and understanding will come later. It makes me think of Jesus calling the disciples. Jesus didn't walk up to the fishing boats and explain all of his theology and what he was going to do and then ask if they would like to join him. No, he simply said, come, follow me. And they came. Lord, help me to follow, even when I don't understand.

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