I want to share with you a revelation that has totally changed my understanding of God and what He wants from us.
Did you ever read a verse that got under your skin? I mean a verse that really bothered you. A verse that you felt you could never live up to and if only you could cut it out of the Bible, then things would be OK?
This particular verse was one of those for me:
John 14: 23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching…” (NIV)
What bothered me about this was my inability to obey Him. I thought, “If I could only obey more, or be more righteous, I could be a better Christian”. I actually thought “I must not love God because I can’t obey Him”. Of course, I lacked understanding.
So, I knew that I should love God, but I really didn’t know how. This was something that I did not want to share with anyone. I did not understand how to love God. I thought I loved Him, but to be honest… I didn’t have a clue. I was really a Christian in name only. I might’ve had salvation, but I’m not certain about that.
My point is that I focused on obeying Him, rather than loving Him. Trying to obey God without loving Him is pointless. Now I get it.
John 14: 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Keep in mind that I was not regularly reading the Word, was not being discipled, and did not know how to have a relationship with God.
Now that I have been regularly reading the Word, this concept of how to love God becomes increasingly clear as He reveals Himself to me. Prayer is most helpful in this as well as spending time with mature believers and those who genuinely love Jesus.
I also understand the two greatest commandments more than ever:
Matthew 22: 36“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Furthermore, while reading Hosea I found this verse:
Hosea 6: 6 I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.
Little did I know that this was no ordinary Old Testament verse, but one that Jesus quotes Himself, not just once, but twice.
Matthew 9: 13 Then, he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Matthew 12: 7 But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’
Just what did King David understand?
Psalm 69: 30 Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
31 For this will please the Lord more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.
Doesn’t this make things simple? Just focus on loving and knowing God. Spend time with Him by reading His Word daily, be in prayer and intimate fellowship with others who love God and you can’t go wrong.
My friends, this is HUGE. It is my prayer that if you did not already understand this, that this will hit home for you.
Do you get it?