Notes for Foundations: Christian Obedience and the Vertical Position

Presented by Sarah Colyn

This session considers how obedience to God makes us whole.
These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain
the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

Obedience, Listening, and Love

This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! Matthew 17:5
“We are God’s work of art, and we must suffer ourselves to be moulded. Only with our willing it can He create in us the person He intends us to be. Paradoxically, it is only as we obey, as we become “slaves to obedience,” that we come into that incredible freedom of the realized and integrated personality” (Payne, ​Real Presence​, 78-79).
They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me;
and those who love me will be loved by my Father,
and I will love them and reveal myself to them. John 14:21
“If we will hide His words in an obedient heart, they will work toward the integration of that personality. As I listen and obey, I become” (Payne, ​The Broken Image​, 150).

Listening-obedience and healing of the fallen position

The unfallen, vertical position
The fallen, bent position
“They wanted, as we say, to ‘call their souls their own.’ They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, ‘This is our business, not yours’” (C. S. Lewis, ​The Problem of Pain,​ 26).

Two stories of bentness

The healing position

Leanne Payne calls it the “rigorous but sternly magnificent work of converting the ‘desert of loneliness’ within into the spaciously beautiful ‘garden of solitude’ where the true self comes forward and flourishes. This is the self capable of friendship and Christian fellowship. Its identity is no longer in the creature. It no longer demands that the creature be god to it” (Payne, ListeningPrayer,​ 169).

Resources on this topic:

Chapter six of Leanne Payne’s ​The Broken Image,​ “Listening for the Healing Word”

Chapter four of Leanne Payne’s ​The Healing Presence,​ “Separation from the presence: the fall from God-consciousness into self-consciousness”

Chapter eleven of Leanne Payne’s ​Listening Prayer​, “Listening prayer is friendship with God”

“​Obedience and the Vertical Position​” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.