“The First and Last Duty” A diary enter by Frank Laubach (1884-1970)
Submission is the first and last duty of man. That is exactly what I have been needing in my Christian life. Two years ago, a profound dissatisfaction led me to begin trying to line up my actions with the will of God about every 15 minutes or every half hour. Other people to whom I confessed this intention said it was impossible. I judge from what I have said that few people are trying even that. But this year I have started out trying to live all my waking moments in conscious listening to the inner voice, without ceasing, “What, Father, do you desire said? What, Father, do you desire done this minute?”
For the past few days I have been experimenting in a more complete surrender than ever before. I am taking by deliberate act of will, enough time from each hour to give God much thought. Yesterday and today I have made a new adventure, which is not easy to express. I am feeling God in each movement, by an act of will – willing that He shall direct these fingers that now strike this typewriter – willing that He shall pour through my steps as I walk – willing that He shall direct my words as I speak, and my very jaws as I eat! Surrendered Life
You will object to this intense introspection. Do not try it, unless you feel unsatisfied with your own relationship with God, but at least allow me to realize all the leadership of God I can. I am disgusted with the pettiness and futility of my unled self. If the way out is not more perfect slavery to God, then what is the way out? I am trying to be utterly free from everybody, free from my own self, but completely enslaved to the will of God every moment of this day.
We used to sing a song in the church in Benton which I liked, but which I never really practiced until now. It runs:
“Moment by moment, I’m kept in his love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.”
It is exactly that “moment by moment,” every waking moment, surrender, responsiveness, obedience, sensitiveness, pliability, “lost in His love,” that I now have the mind-bent to explore with all my might. It means two burning passions: First, to be like Jesus. Second, to respond to God as a violin responds to the bow of the master. Open your soul and entertain the glory of God and after a while that glory will be reflected in the world about you and in the very clouds above your head.