Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 29, 2019
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
I’ve heard discipleship described as “faith to live by and the way to live by it.” It is a definition I find quite helpful, because often we focus on one aspect or the other, failing to see how vital it is to hold them closely together. A faithful disciple of Jesus will have and keep his commands.
The Christian faith is rooted in revelation, meaning God reveals himself to us in ways that otherwise would be unknown to us. We are not born fully aware of God’s love, neither do we simply need to “wake up” to the spirituality within us. Paul says we were “dead in our trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1). God draws near to us in Jesus when we are unable to draw near to him. And as he does, Jesus teaches us how to see the world as he sees it, how to order our lives according to the rhythms of his goodness and grace.
It is possible to receive the commands of God and choose to reject them. There are countless numbers of people who have grown up in and around church, heard the gospel and the way of Jesus, yet chose to disconnect this knowledge from the lived experience of their lives. As it is commonly said, they have “head knowledge” yet no “heart knowledge”. The love of God is meant to be experienced, not simply known as a set of abstract doctrines and dogmas. And we experience this love by receiving and obeying the commandments of God.
While some people hear the word of God and choose to reject it entirely, for many of us the temptation is far more subtle. We will happily hear and obey the parts of discipleship that cost us little or easily integrate into our existing way of life. But that whole “death to self” bit? We’ll just leave that for another day, or we fail to pick it up altogether.
Part of our failure to keep the commands of God is linked to our failure to believe his commands are for our good. We do what we want to do, and believe our choices will lead to our happiness and joy. Our resistance to God’s ways is often rooted in a deeply held belief that the sacrifice we must make will not, in fact, lead to joy but will instead be the death of us. It will lead to sorrow and misery, so why on earth would we willingly say “yes” to such a command? The only way we will begin to truly live as disciples of Jesus is by believing that he is pure love and goodness, and anything he asks of us, however hard it may be, is for our good and is the path by which we enter into the perfect love of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Father, remind us today of your great love, and that your commands are for our good and your great glory. Amen.
Where does your life reflect a disconnect between what you know and how you live?
We experience God’s love by receiving and obeying the commandments of God. #wisdomhunters #trust #Jesus
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