“If you love me, keep my commands…” (John 14:15)
Agreed, it is Christmas season, but before I come to the core of my Christmas message in this series of 4 parts, I would like to focus on what pleases and displeases the Lord the most. If the rest of humanity owes it (love-laced obedience) to the Creator for its “formation,” we Christians owe it to Him for not only our “formation” but also for our “re-formation.” The human race says Apostle Paul, “lives and moves and has its being in Him” (Acts 17:28). Had he not created Adam and Eve in the first place, there would be no mankind now, as it were, on the face of Earth. As for all of us Christians, had He not “re-created” us in Christ the moment we trusted His redemption plan (John 1:12/Romans 10:8-10), the word “Christian” (Acts 11:26) would not have seen the light of the day. So in all fairness, for the humanity in general which owes its very existence to the Almighty, and for Christians in particular who owe their Creator and Redeemer two lives (physical and spiritual), there ought to be none more dear to their hearts than the Most High One (Psa 91:1) and His statutes.
Love for God can be exhibited only by heeding to His instructions (1 Sam 15:22, 2 John 1:6). At this stage, honesty compels me to admit that I could not have walked with my Saviour and Sustainer for more than three decades now, but for His infinite grace and mercy shown in forgiving me so many times whenever I have sinned, and subsequently sincerely repented. That’s why a wise Christian put it this way “Christian life begins with repentance and is sustained by repentance.” Oh yes, chastisement sometimes received by me was painful but viewed in hindsight it did me a lot of good spiritually (Psa 119:71-72/John 15:2b TLB), making me fall in deeper love with my meticulous “Trainer.” That is why Christian life can also be described as “falling in love with the Almighty again and again.” Nonetheless, while weaving some indelible truths around the Christmas story this time around, I intend to encourage love-laced obedience to our Heavenly Father to the best extent possible (2 Peter 3:14-TLB) by initially projecting how really beautiful and how really ugly obedience and disobedience appear respectively in the Father’s sight.
Just as love-inspired obedience pleases the Lord (Jer 2:2), hard-hearted disobedience grievously wounds His heart (Jer 14:17) for disobedience seen in its true light is nothing but hatred for the Creator. Quite often, we out of improper understanding, presume that sinning leads to hard-heartedness whereas in fact it is just the opposite. Hard-heartedness breeds sin with ramifications all around. When there is hatred for the Creator, can the hatred for His people around you (His Creation) also be far behind? For instance adultery (disobeying His Command) taken to its logical conclusion is not only a hard-hearted disposition towards the Almighty (Matt 19:8), but also an act of outright hatred (nothing more, nothing less and nothing else) towards a spouse leading to painful consequences.
Prayer: Father, this Christmas season we do not want miss the forest for the trees. We want to realize the fundamental truth and apply it in our lives that we need to display a love-inspired obedience to Thee at all times. Help us by supplying Your power even as we display our will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unworthy Servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Festival of Obedience” mini-series, please click here.)