James 1:22 says “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Are we a church that only hears but does nothing? We can become comfortable in our churches, and attend every service, and soak up the Word of God. This is of course a good thing, but if it ends there, does it do anyone any good? There is a time in every Christian’s life when they must learn and study, as it says earlier in the same chapter in James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” We all need time to learn and seek God’s face for wisdom and knowledge. Of course we should never stop learning and asking God for wisdom, but there comes a time when we must become a doer as well as a hearer. As human beings it is natural for us to seek comfort and ease. But sometimes God needs to shake us up to get us to move. There comes a time that we need to be made uncomfortable in order for us to actually make a move for God. It is great to learn and to gain experience in our churches, but there comes a time in a church when we must take that knowledge and experience, and use it to help others. Do we use our knowledge and experience, that God has given us, to spread his word? Do we use our knowledge and experience, that God has given us, to help young Christians grow and learn? Church, as we seek out our future, I believe that God has given us years of excellent teaching and preparation. We have certainly become comfortable in our church. We can continue to seek out comfort, or we can do something that takes us out of our comfort zone. We can do something that allows us to use what God has been gracious enough to give us. I believe it is time for us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. We must move out of our comfort zone to use what God has prepared us for. Will we be willing to sacrifice our comfort for God’s movement? Are we willing to use the knowledge, wisdom and experience that he has given us, or will we just continue to relax? God has prepared us, are we ready to move? We must be continually in prayer for God to guide us in his will. But we must be ready to move out of our comfort zone if he is calling us there. Comfort can feel ok, but how much greater will it feel to move out of our comfort zone and see what God has in store for us, if we follow his lead, and become doers. James 1:25 says “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” Are we ready to take what God has given us and share it with others, or will we continue to just sit in comfort? I believe God is calling us to be made a little uncomfortable, but ultimately profitable for his work. Let us pray for God to lead us to be doers.
Jesus was approached by a Pharisee, and was asked which was the greatest commandment, and he answered in Matthew 22:37-40 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
So Jesus tells us that all other laws and all other teachings hang on these two commandments. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and we cannot truly do that without loving God with everything within us. So then the question is, How do we know that we really love God? God gives us this answer over and over again in his word.
In John 14:15, Jesus says “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
In John 14:21, Jesus says “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me”.
In John 14:23, Jesus says “If a man love me, he will keep my words”.
In John 14:24, Jesus says “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings”.
In John 15:10, Jesus says “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
The phrase “keep my commandments” is also recorded 20 times in the old testament, proving God’s emphasis on this.
It is clear that Jesus is telling us that the way our love is manifested toward God, is that we keep and value his commandments, and he was our example for doing so by keeping his Father’s commandments. We can say that we love God, but if we don’t value his commandments, Jesus says that we do not love him. Do you value all of God’s commandments or just the ones that you like? ALL of God’s word is given for our benefit.
Jesus tells us in the next verse in John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” He gives us these commandments, so that our joy might be full if we follow them. He’s not giving us these commandments to ruin our fun. EVERY commandment from God is important, and is for our own benefit. When we only love God because of what he gives us, and does for us, then we do not truly love God. If we truly love God, we will also love his commandments. One cannot come without the other. You cannot truly love your neighbor until you love God, and you cannot truly love God until you love his commandments. If you say, I like most of the Word of God, but there are some things I don’t agree with, then you don’t really love God, you love yourself. How can I say that? If you value your own opinion over God’s Word, then you are equating yourself with God, and believe that you know better than God. Therefore you have made yourself into your own god. Jesus valued you more than he valued his own life. He gave us these commandments because he loves us, and desires for us to have a joyful life. If we do not value God’s commandments, then we are stealing our own joy that God desires to give to us. So again I ask, “Do you really love God?” I leave you with this scripture as you ponder that question:
1 John 2:3-5 “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”