I’ve come to the conclusion that everything we do ends up being based on how much we love God. How we treat others is a reflection of how we love Him. How we live our lives is a reflection of how we love Him. What we say and how we say it, how we act and what we do, how we desire to live..it all boils down to how much we love Him. The Bible says, in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” What does He command us to do? There are many commandments. We read about the 10 Commandments, such as thou shalt not steal, covet, lie, murder, and so on. The Bible is clear on what is sin and what is not. We know that sexual immorality (sex outside of marriage, adultery, homosexual acts, etc.) is a sin, and He commands us to abstain from such things. We know that that idolatry is a sin, and that anything can be made into an idol. Even things that are not inherently evil or pagan, like television, music, social media, even church activities, can slowly move into the place in our hearts and minds that should only belong to God. Whatever the sin may be, whether the world considers it big or small, or to be a sin at all (Most people will agree that murder is a sin, unless it’s the murder of a baby in the womb, apparently, but most people will argue with saying things like homosexuality or other sexually immoral things are not sinful despite what the word of God says.) we are commanded to abstain from sin. We are commanded to be Christ-like and to be righteous. Now, this is not a popular belief. I know from comments I’ve received, from private messages I’ve been sent, and from conversations I’ve listened in to, most people do not like the idea of God commanding us to be righteous. We say that His grace is enough and that He is righteous enough for us. We say that we can’t rely on good works. And I’d like to be clear on this, we can not buy our way into Heaven with good works. Good works do not save us. And His grace is the only reason I have been saved. But that does not mean God, having saved us, being full of grace and love for us even though we are sinners, thinks it is okay for us to continue sinning.
1 Peter 2:21 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
We are commanded to be Christlike! Do not think that we are getting a ticket into Heaven and we can just ride along doing whatever we want. Don’t be selfish; look at what Jesus has done for you, remember the painful death that He faced in order to save us, remember the mocking, the persecution, that He faced daily because of us! I want you to get that. His death was because of us. Do you think He walked on this earth for fun? Do you think He left His Kingdom in glory, traded His crown of jewels for a crown of thorns for enjoyment? Do you think He wanted to go on that cross and be pierced for OUR transgressions, bruised for OUR iniquities? We read of one of the saddest moments in scripture, the moment before He was betrayed, and I can’t help but wonder how we can claim to be Christians, claim His name, and be so selfish, so heartless?
38 Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Just in the next verses, we read that His disciples could not do the one thing He asked of them..to stay up with Him and be with Him in these heart wrenching moments before His betrayal and death. Christian, He has asked one thing out of us. Be set apart. Be salt and light. Be witnesses. Be different. Be like Him. Love Him. If you love Him, you will keep His commandments. We see the disciples fail at this, and this is a great picture for us. A great way to understand that we will fail at times, and His love and mercy is never ending, when we are saved, nothing we do can take that away. If we had to rely on our good works and own righteousness, we would have never been saved. That is not my point. Here is my point when I say that righteous living is important, is necessary..if you love Him, you will follow Him. Look at your sins that are holding you back from being Christlike, look at them with the hatred that they deserve, and remember that those sins you are clinging to so desperately are the same sins that Christ had to die for. He took our punishment for us, can we not be selfless for one moment? Can we not let go of our sins and try to love Him so much that we are willing to let go of our sins and carry our cross? And I meant truly carry it? Being a Christian demands sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice?
How much do you love Him?
Don’t use God’s grace as an excuse, and do not take advantage of it, either. The Bible is clear that we will all face Him at the judgement seat one day, and just as there will be varying degrees of judgement in Hell, there will be varying degrees of rewards in Heaven. Do not fool yourselves into thinking that you can be saved and continue living like Hell because of God’s grace without judgement. Look at all of the amazing men and women of God from years gone by who have made the biggest differences in the world; Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, who forsook all to be missionaries for Him. Amy Carmichael, who gave up everything for Him. Charles Spurgeon, A.W. Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill, Oswald Chambers, John Bunyan…all of these people were constantly striving to be more like Jesus. May we have that same goal, to be like Him. Not for worldly applause, but for His glory, to show the world that God can make an old sinner like me into a new creature.
Do you love Him enough to stop lying nonstop? Do you love Him enough to stop being in a sexually immoral relationship? Do you love Him enough to forsake this world for His Kingdom? How much do you love Him? Do you love Him more than your sins, your idols?