To Fulfill Your Duty Means Both To Do and To Suffer

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 58

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

– Acts 9:15-16 (ESV)

Abandonment is a state in which you have completely handed your existence over to God, to be used according to his good pleasure. God will then use your existence in two ways. Certain things, he will require you to do; certain things, he will simply do through you. Your submission to him, therefore, is also twofold. You faithfully execute his clear orders, and you accept, with humble submission, the effects of his work on your soul, be they pleasant or painful. All of this is part of your abandonment, your complete submission to the order of God, according to the nature of the present moment. It should not matter to you what form your abandonment will take from one moment to the next. What matters is that your abandonment is total.

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

In Act 9:15-16, quoted above, Jesus is talking to a man named Ananias. He is talking about Saul who would become Paul. This Paul, for the rest of his life, understood his calling. He knew that he was to bear witness to the truth he had seen in Jesus. Indeed, he knew what he needed to do, but he also knew what he needed to suffer, for this was another part of his calling that Jesus told him about.

In Paul’s life we can see the twofold nature of duty. It is both active and passive. There are things we must do and things we must suffer. Our responsibility, like Paul’s, is to discern our duty, both active and passive, and be faithful to fulfill it.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.