Love Provides Fuel to Obey
So what do you do if you’re in a situation in which there is mixture among the people and different interests compete for time and energy? Well, for starters, don’t stir up trouble. Don’t be contentious or frustrated. Don’t talk big, fuss and fight. Do not be contentious. Love the people around you. Everybody begins someplace in their hearts and lives, and we need to honor and respect that. One of Paul’s favorite words is honor. We have to honor and respect one another.
There will be pretenders who don’t want to obey God, and you’ll have to separate yourself from those people. That’s what the Bible says. But most people who are just doing “churchy” religious things and are separated from each other, isolated and confused…they are victims. The mixture and problems are not all their fault. It’s not that they don’t want to serve and please God.
In truth, we’re all just children. I think it’s one of those humorous things that God called His people—the “Children” of Israel. Right? We’re all just a bunch of young pups and young children trying to act big and figure out what to do. Imagine a bunch of eight year old little boys and girls sitting around this table trying to figure out how to save the world….we’re just children!
So we need to respect and love others and be patient, knowing that we’re all just children anyway. We’re not smart and we’re not spiritual. That helps us have patience and love on this Journey. There will be people who eventually prove that they hate the Scriptures. They hate certain teachings of God and they make excuses. You’ll end up not being able to have a good relationship with those people because they don’t love God very much. What did Jesus say? “If you love me, you’ll keep My commandments.”
One test of whether a person loves God, is that they see commands clearly and want to obey. If, however, they just make excuses about it, then they don’t want to obey God. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” It’s just the product of love. It happens very naturally. We sacrifice for the ones we love. We make choices to support and help and be unified with those whom we love even when something confuses or hurts us or costs us something. With our children, we all make sacrifices. We do that for the ones we love and we don’t complain about it. We don’t make excuses about it either.
Jesus said the same thing. He said, “Understand this, My commands are not burdensome. If you love Me, these aren’t hard. They are only hard if you don’t love Me very much. If you love Me, you’ll obey my commands.” Love provides fuel, energy, strength and wisdom to obey. The more we love, the easier it is to cooperate with Jesus. If we don’t love, we’ll try to live in two worlds. We’ll try to be “Christian,” but live selfishly, pridefully and independently. We’ll dishonor God by disobeying His Words. So, if this is the Word of God, we have to go back to it. We can’t make up our own kind of religion. That’s not Christianity. “The word became flesh and dwelt among us. The word was with God, the word WAS God.” You can’t ignore the Word of God and still say that you love Jesus. You can’t say, “Well, I only want part of it. That other part is too hard.” Or, “Oh, I think that’s just cultural” or “That’s just your opinion.”
If it’s here in the Scriptures and in God’s heart, let’s go! Let’s go through this doorway into the Glory of God. It’s a doorway into fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is not burdensome. This is a doorway into the heart and mind and Life of God. Let’s go! Part of His heart and mind is Acts 2. It doesn’t express all of God’s mind, but you can’t deny that it is part of God’s mind. You can’t decide to disobey things just because it’s not convenient. “Admonish one another daily so that none of you are hardened and deceived by sin.” That’s a doorway into the Glory of God. Let’s go there and do that.