Posts Tagged John 14: 21

Lay Down

John 14: 21

He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.

Here is a motivational scripture for you. Would you like for Jesus to disclose himself to you? And don’t we all want to be loved by the Father? Jesus has broken this down into simple terms for us. Keep His commandments, be doers of His Word and you will have all of Jesus as your own. He will make His life with you; His home with you. He will be your ever present companion; your ready aide. He will fill your heart with love and your life with power and goodness.

As is typical with the things of God, though, the first step is ours. We see that the will of God is to come and make His abode with us, but we must do those things which allow Him His desire. Namely, we must keep His commandments. This is not difficult to figure out though it can be difficult to perform. Jesus made it simple. Love the Father with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love other people even as He, Jesus, has loved us. How did Jesus love us? “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15: 12). Since Jesus was willing to lay down His life for us, ought we be willing to lay down something for our friends? Can we learn to lay aside our egos and self-interest? Can we lay aside some time? Maybe we can give out of our busy schedules, time to someone who needs a hand with something. Perhaps we can lay aside for a short time that which is important to us so that we can do something for someone else. God is not asking us to go to the cross, but He is asking you to lay down part of your life for someone else. Maybe it is just an hour to go visit a friend. Maybe a friend with the flu could use some home cooking. It really doesn’t matter what God is asking you to do, but Jesus has made it clear that it is the expression of love that He wants from His disciples. When we show our love to God’s beloved, we show also our love for God.

Straight Paths

Proverb 3: 6

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Jesus defined the relationship he expected us to have with him. He expected it to be a love relationship between friends. He also expected that relationship to show itself in the way we approach our lives. In John 15: 14 Jesus is recorded saying, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” In John 14: 21 he said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” This relationship with our friend yields a particular behavior. That is that we do what he has commanded us.

Now, what does all of this have to do with today’s verse? Fair question. Jesus is the Word, the whole Word. That includes everything that was written in the Old Testament. God wrote the proverbs by inspiring Solomon with the words to write. Therefore, today’s verse is one of those commands that Jesus wants us to live by.

While this is a very familiar scripture I wonder if we know how to apply it or even that we should. Jesus expects us to live his word and today’s verse is one of the ways we accomplish that. Jesus intends that in everything we do, whether work, family or play that we stop and ask his advice. As we make our plans or weigh our options we are supposed to check in with our Father asking Him to direct our path. That means at work He is the senior partner. If you own a business, get used to the idea that you have someone above you that you are supposed to consult before you act.

He isn’t trying to be a controlling presence. He wants to direct your steps so as to lead you into success. His ways always cause us to flourish. He published today’s verse so we would know how to operate in this world. He is showing you the way. Whatever you need to do today, do it with the Lord. Talk with him all day and let him guide you.

Offense

Matthew 11: 6

And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.

Do you find yourself amazed that Jesus would speak such words? I do. But in Romans 9: 33 Paul quoted a passage from Isaiah, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus. Paul, in his writing, confirmed that this prophetic statement from Isaiah had been fulfilled, that Jesus was the stumbling block. Now if Jesus is a cause for stumbling then it must be that we need to take some pains to not offer people offense. In fact Paul told us as much himself, “Give no offense either to Jews or the Greeks or to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10: 32). So, we are to make an effort not to offend others. However, that can also operate as a chilling effect on speech in the church and personally, I find that a troubling situation as well. Some pastors will not preach on certain topics, even though they are Biblical, because they are afraid of offending someone in their congregation. Many pastors will not even preach on tithing for that reason which I find sad because they are really stealing from their parishioners by not sharing God’s economic plan with them. You can hardly blame them, though, because some of those offended people may be influential. Certainly, there are people who will make their displeasure known in very clear language. This is not as it should be.

We are a body but we do not all believe the same. That is evident in the number of denominations we have and even divisions among denominations. Were the truth to be told, most of us do not believe exactly the same as we did some years ago. That is called growth and maturity. We must, therefore, make a decision for unity despite differences of opinion and even differences in revelation. We must choose not to be offended by new thoughts or varying opinions. We are all at different places along the journey and we need to be able to share our thoughts, beliefs and revelations without offending others or being criticized for our seeking of truth.

The most frightening result of our dogmatic refusal to listen to different points of view or to entertain new ideas is that we cannot receive revelation from God. Did I say frightening? I meant terrifying. There is little that causes my heart such trepidation as to think that I nor others can receive the fresh revelation of God. There have been so many times when Father God has shown me something new out of a verse that I thought I knew very well. He keeps peeling back layer after layer showing me that He has more depth than I have ever grasped before. I live from revelation to revelation. That is the glory of Christ, Christ revealed. In John 14, verse 21 Jesus promised that whoever loves him would be loved by him and the father and that he would “disclose Myself to him”. Glory to God! Now, when Jesus reveals himself to you, then by definition it means he is revealing, disclosing something you did not know before. So, if we have an attitude of offense then we will never be able to receive the revelation of Jesus. God forbid! In other words, if we cannot accept or at least tolerate new or different ideas, then Jesus cannot show us anything we do not already know. We are destined to be ignorant. I would hate that destiny for myself and I grieve its ownership by the church. How can we train others or lead them to truth if we are ignorant? How can the church be a might force for good if the world sees us as closed minded and foolish? Certainly, it is the height of foolishness to think that we can evangelize a world when we cannot even get along with each other because of different or new ideas.

It takes a decision to avoid being offended or put off by a different theology. It also requires a bit of self-esteem. No one can make you believe something you do not wish to so why get all upset over someone’s thought which differs from yours? It may be that you will agree with that person sometime down the road when you have had time to think about it and do your own research.

My prayer is that we will embrace all that God wishes to show us in these last days. I pray that we will encourage our pastors and teachers to spend time before God learning and seeking all that God would reveal to us and that we will urge them to share these new revelations with us despite the chance that we may be challenged. I further pray that we will remove the spirit of offense far from us both individually and corporately and that we will in turn embrace the spirit of unity and goodwill.