Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26 – Placing yourself in a unique position

If you love Me, you will keep My commands.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.  (John 14:15-16 HCSB)

I posted a video on Facebook recently about excuses Christians make when it comes to giving into sin or fleshly urges, and got an interesting comment.  “It’s not easy being a perfect Christian!”  Of course it’s not - but what’s implied by this comment?  First, that God is legalistic and only accepts perfection, second living a life that is acceptable to God is too difficult, and thirdly, we should take it easy on ourselves when it comes to sin.  We’re only human, after all…

I’ve heard many people tell me that they love God, and say so with great emotion.  But what many people love is their own invention of God, not the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible and came to earth to live among us.  Loving God with great surges of elation or tears or desires to rescue the poor can all happen when a love for God exists, but none of that factors into Jesus’ description of what loving God really means.  If you love Me, you will keep My commandments, He says.  If you love me, you’ll obey me.  Later on in the chapter, Jesus repeats these words, but in a different order.  “The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.”  You cannot say you love God, and treat His commands as optional or trivial.

Of course we will fail at executing every command perfectly, all the time, every day for the rest of our lives.  We will always need His forgiveness, but those who keep His commands, are those who strive to the best of their abilities to obey no matter the personal cost, every day for the rest of their lives.  Those are the standards that they hold themselves to.  

And because they desire to obey so eagerly and are willing to sacrifice their pride and selfishness and control over their own lives, they place themselves in the unique position of being able to receive the most amazing gift – the Holy Spirit.  Jesus calls Him the Counselor.  Instead of stumbling through life, trying to avoid sin and obey God by the strength of our weak flesh, God provides His Spirit to enable and empower us to do far more than we ever could on our own.  He counsels us when we are all alone and don’t know what to do or who to turn to.  He shows us hidden treasures that fleshly eyes would never be able to see.  He gives us His authority to confront the devil, and living a life far from sin becomes so much easier and joyful.  Instead of a burden, it is a daily refreshment.

This gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for those who don’t first keep His commands.  If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re trying to persuade you to believe in an invention of God.  And that is a sad and difficult life of shadowy faith that disappoints.  You are promised a Counselor forever, just trust and obey. 

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