Abandonment Is the Ultimate Duty

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 64

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

–Ephesians 6:13 (ESV)

To abandon yourself! This, then, is the one great duty that remains to be fulfilled after you have faithfully met all of life’s other obligations. This will be the true measure of holiness: how perfectly has this one duty been fulfilled?

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

The concept of duty is so important on the path of abandonment that what at first seems like one important step becomes the whole path. When properly understood, abandonment itself becomes just another duty—the ultimate duty, the one great remaining duty.

If obedience to God’s commandments is visualized as putting on armor (and it can be seen that way), then one thing remains after everything else has been done: Stand firm! What does the apostle Paul mean by this command in Ephesians 6:13? The armor you wear is useless if you run away from the battle. You must hold your ground.

When speaking of abandonment, this principle is true. After you have done all you know to do, be present before God. This is the duty that remains. Every moment presents this duty to you. Whatever else the moment calls for, it always calls for this.

To speak of “the path” of abandonment is to use another metaphor, and this can be misunderstood. For a path implies a distant goal, but abandonment means arriving at the destination right now. What is the path but a series of moments in which we get better and better at arriving at this destination? And every moment brings a new invitation and a new arrival. Duty keeps us on the path, but the path itself is our one constant duty, and the journey is but a series of arrivals.

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.