April 17, 2016


A few years ago at our granddaughter’s soccer game, a man was sitting on our side of the field, but rooting for the opposite team. He was in a lawn chair near the corner of the pitch. Some of the little girls from our fan base were playing within a few feet of him.

This man was loudly cursing the referee and our players. While we who were in the stands did not mind an opposing fan in our midst, no one appreciated his language and many were saying someone should do something.

At that time, I would have considered myself timid in public, but the Holy Spirit elbowed me. I got up, moved off the stands where we sat, and had a little talk with the man. I was polite, but firm. He argued a bit, but after I left him, he was quiet for the rest of the game. Afterwards, I was amazed at myself for doing that.

Today, Chambers’ words are about recklessly abandoning everything to follow Jesus. He points to an incident after the resurrection when the Savior appeared to seven disciples who had been fishing without success. They didn’t recognize Him, but He told them where to cast their nets. These were experienced fishermen, but they did what He said and hauled in a huge catch. Then they realized who had spoken:

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. (John 21:7)

Chambers says this decision was not emotional or external. While emotions were involved, Peter’s decision to do what he did was a matter of a deeper conviction. He didn’t do it because the others were expecting him to do something. He didn’t do it because he wanted to impress them either. He just did it by choice because he loved Jesus.

From that experience at the soccer game, I understand what Chambers means. It was not about emotions. I was neither outraged at this cursing fan, nor did I feel anything else. It wasn’t external in the sense that I felt I needed to be a hero, or impress anyone. I had no plan and was not driven by any determination to put a stopper in a nasty mouth; I just got up and did it.

For me, this illustrates what Chambers calls a crisis of the will. It is a transaction of choice, not emotion, and does not ask God what will happen. It is just done regarding the need of the moment, whether a small need or profound.

An action like this is also about relationship. When I hear the voice of the Lord, why give attention to convictions, fears, or any other motivations? Those don’t matter nearly so much as being obedient so I will keep on hearing Him. That is not being reckless, but more like being in love.

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