I have been striving to be much more disciplined in memorizing Scripture. I have a program on my comp that keeps track of my devotions and reminds me of what I am studying and memorizing. This week I am memorizing a passage from Deuteronomy:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV)
So for a good part of this morning I have been chewing it over in my mind. That when Michelle and I have children to strive to teach them God’s Word. To keep God’s Word close to my heart and reflect on it constantly, when I get up and when I lay down. That I must strive to obey His commands. Till something hit me…is there something to “these” words that I am missing? So I grabbed my Bible and looked it up. Here is what is literally just before that passage:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
(Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV)
This is the “these words” that we are called to follow. I totally had a wrong focus this morning. Instead of focusing on obedience, I should have been focusing on loving God more. Now, I know some of my friends are going to take that last sentence out of context trying to prove their view that a believer doesn’t need obedience, they just need love. That is so messed up and wrong, read your Bible. We are called to both. They go hand in hand, can not have one with out the other:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
(1 John 5:2-3 ESV)
A little over a month ago, in our Young Adults Group, a friend of mine who has been coming out had a really profound statement. He is unsure about his faith but had this to say:
“If God is who He says He is, why would anyone not obey everything that He says?“
How true, why would we not obey Him? But, lets take it a step further. Obey God, because you love God. I don’t obey my earthly father because I am afraid of him. My dad did discipline us, but I never grew afraid of him. I obeyed my dad because I love him, I trust him, and I know that he loves me and wants the best for me, even when it is painful.
So they are hand in hand. Love and Obey.
Back to Deuteronomy 6…verse 4 starts us off. God alone is to be loved and worshiped. Not ourselves or our egos, not our pastors, not our gifts or the gifts, not money, not our spouses, not our children, not our relationships or friendships, or even ministry, God alone. He leaves room for no one else and nothing else, He alone. This is a God who calls for our focus of adoration and desires nothing less.
Verse 5 is what is commonly known as the “Shema” which Jesus refers to as the “great and first commandment.” (Matt 22:38). “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We are called to love God with our whole “being”. Not just on an intellectual level or an emotional level or a practical level, but everything, heart, mind, soul and strength. Hold nothing back. Behold Him as The Glorious One. Worthy to be praised and worshiped. Worthy of all our adoration and love. Paul says it like this:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies (refers to whole being, body and soul) as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
(Romans 12:1 ESV)
When reading those verses in 1 John, something stuck out to me, love precedes obedience, you will never obey willingly what you dont love. If we are not obeying God and His Word, then its because we dont love Him….
I pray that we will all strive to love The Glorious One more and that it overflows in to obedience of Him.