Boy, we sure hate some passages that demand something of us, that suggest — actually instruct — us to clean up, straighten up, and “tow-the-line” of what we profess. I mean, we say we “believe,” but what are we believing?
Some have nothing more than mental acknowledgment: I believe in God! Oh really, according to James, “That’s fine. So do all the devils in hell and they shudder in absolute terror!” Oh you short-sighted fellows, can’t you see far enough to realize that faith without the right actions is dead and useless? The devil may very well acknowledge that God exists, but he does not have a trusting faith in God! That is what we are supposed to possess. We are to have a faithful independent trust in the work of Christ on the cross who cleansed us from our sins! It is not enough to simply have a mental acknowledgment that Jesus lived and died on the cross. Man, any historian can tell you that. We not only believe that, but we also trust and have confidence in the sacrifice that Jesus made on that cross!
But here is where we hit a road bump. Paul said, “Since we have these promises, we need to cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit and live a holy life in the fear of God! (II Corinthians 7:1). Believing is the beginning of our faith. But it is followed by the evidence of that faith! As one brother stated, “We have to live a life that is more revolutionary than that of the revolutionaries!”
There is no formula in transformation. The Lord, like C.S. Lewis’ Aslan — is not tame — He is a not a God of formulas. He is a living experience, and our relationship with him should grow and mature each day. He is not a “something” out there which is revealed by going through a series of preset steps. As I have shared before, Daniel Passini wisely stated, “When Christ has invaded our lives, and we have truly had a collision with the divine it will show in the fruit of our lives.” But here’s the thing, that reality isn’t something a disciple works up, it comes naturally as a result of that “invasion” and “collision” with our Father’s Kingdom and rule! It is the fruit of our faith!
I will give it to you straight: claiming that you love Jesus Christ without obeying His commands is a lie. At least that is what Jesus told us:
Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father’s love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them (John 14:21)
His dear beloved disciple affirmed that fact:
To love God means that we obey his commandments. Obeying his commandments isn’t difficult (I John 5:3)
We have a relationship with God and yet live in the darkness of sin, we are lying (I John 1:6)
I think Elisabet Elliot clarified this when she wrote, “The will of God is not something you add to your life. It is a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God, or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” It is your choice to make, that is the course you must follow.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add youm—a to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.