What do you think of when you consider God’s commandments? Do you think they are a set of antiquated laws and rules that no longer apply to Christ followers? Do you think they are God’s eternal code of conduct for those who follow Jesus? Do you think they are God’s loving instructions to ensure that we live and love life to the fullest – in our relationship with God and our fellow human beings?
Fortunately, as I evermore realize in hindsight, I grew up in a home and societal environment with instructions and guidelines for behaviour – a code of conduct that outlines certain behavioural expectations. At the time, I felt like an underage army cadet who could never get it right. However, as I matured, I realized that every seemingly burdensome decree and directive was an opportunity to express honour, respect, and ultimately love for my parents and those within my sphere of influence.
Interestingly, when we reflect on God’s ten commandments, we discover that he communicates them in two categories: how we relate to God and how we relate to other people. Primarily, these are God’s expectations and our code of conduct – ultimately, our way of expressing honour, respect, and ultimately love for our heavenly Father and those we encounter in our daily lives.
John reminds us that God’s commandments are still relevant. In fact, he defines and equates love as keeping God’s commands. Subsequently, he assures us that keeping God’s commands is not a burden but an opportunity to reflect and express our love to God the Father and to those within our sphere of influence.
In today’s theological environment, it is essential we understand that Biblical legalism is the misconception that strict adherence to certain behaviors, disciplines, and practices ensures our salvation and right standing before God. Scripture clearly contradicts this fallacy. Throughout the ages, Old and New Testament voices of the psalmist, prophets, patriarchs, and Jesus model and reiterate the same eternal message: if you love God, you will keep his commandments.
God’s commandments instill in us an ever-relevant behavioural moral compass – his loving code of conduct for those he loves. Our loving response, through the influence and power of the Holy Spirit, is to comply in his strength – not legalistically, but to live as God intended and authentically reflect to God and other people that we are God’s children and faithful followers of our risen Saviour, who lives in and through us
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and empowering us through the Holy Spirit to love you and those people you have placed in our lives by emulating Jesus – keeping and reflecting your commandments.
Throughout This Day: Reflect on Jesus’ words in John 14:15, and think about how all God’s commandments help you to better understand how to love as Jesus does.
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