Monday, April 22, 2013
Truthfulness vs. Deception Meditation Commentary
Truthfulness is communicating by my life and word that which is genuine and accurate.
•“Lord, who shall abide in they tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.”—Psalm 15:1-2
•“The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”—Proverbs 22:19, 22
It can be tempting to fall into many incorrect mentalities when under authority. One of the mentalities we often fall into has to do with believing we can shun certain moral responsibilities as long as we are giving the appearance of submitting to authority. Sometimes it seems easier to simply deceive the authorities over us when we think we know what is best rather than going through the proper channels. However, if we understand the true principles of authority and submission, and truthfulness vs. deception, we recognize that truthfulness involves openness with authorities. A definition of integrity that has stuck with me through the years is: ‘doing what is right when nobody else is watching.’ This mean we are not only honest on a surface level when interacting with authorities, but will be open with them on a deeper level, demonstrating truthfulness in our lives even when they are not watching, and refusing to stoop to deception simply because we have an improper understanding of authority. We think of authorities sometimes as out of touch and lofty—like a king on a throne. We tell ourselves that they do not really understand our situation, and that we know what is best in this particular instance, and therefore, we deceive them because we believe they will not understand. Authorities are placed in our lives with their rules and guidelines for a reason, though, and there are practical reasons for the rules, even if we do not understand them. Children do this with their parents, maybe believing they are justified in staying out later than they are supposed to, or hanging out with people, watching a movie, or going to the mall without permission, but losing credibility with the authority over them because they were not truthful. A worker may do this with a boss by doing something like making unauthorized decisions, which may even be good decisions, but without openness and truthfulness, doing this could cause problems in the workplace. This concept does not mean that one cannot disagree with his or her authorities, but that he or she should be truthful with authorities. If you do not agree with your authorities, rather than going behind their backs, approach them about it. Oftentimes, authorities are reasonable, but regardless of the situation, it is always better to be honest and upfront, rather than hiding things, which could cause issues when the deception is inevitably brought to light.
I have a friend who told me a story about this concept which stayed with me. He was on a missions trip and there was a rule that he could not leave the hotel without someone else accompanying him. The rule was well-established and he knew it was there, but it was very difficult to find time or a place alone to pray with everyone around, so occasionally, he would take a short walk so he could spend some time alone with God, without asking the group leaders. He justified it, because, of course, he was doing something good. But towards the end of the trip he began to be convicted about it, and decided to confess and apologize to the group leader for going off without permission. The group leader forgave and understood him, and said he wished that the young man would simply have told him, and explained the situation so that they could work something out. This highlighted what submitting to authorities vs just complying with them really means. We will not always agree with authorities, and that's okay. But rather than act like we're submitting to them, and just agreeing with whatever they say, a big part of submission is acknowledging their authority enough to come to them with problems.
In conclusion, be truthful, be honest, and have integrity when relating to authority.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Keep Your Word Meditation Commentary
“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”—Matthew 5:33-37
"And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." -- Genesis 15:5
Keeping your word is an important moral obligation to those in authority. It is easy to understand why authorities should keep their word. Those in authority have people depending on them, and looking up to them, and are expecting authorities to act in a consistent, honorable, truthful way. If the authority does not keep his or her word, he or she should not be in authority. (Sorry, politicians.) The greatest reason to keep one’s word is, of course, the example of the faithfulness of God—the Ultimate Authority.
There is also a responsibility to those under authority to keep their word, even if those in authority above them (like politicians or any other leaders) do not. Authority is for the purpose of leading people and keeping them in line, and things can run smoothly when all parties keep their word. Each party in a relationship has certain responsibilities and if the one in subjection does not keep his or her word, it is the responsibility of the authority to hold that person accountable. In our own lives we can see examples of this, because all of us have some authority or level of influence above others at some point, which makes it easier to relate to those above us. Keeping in mind that we are and will be in authority over others some day is a good motivation to keep our word when we are under authority. The Bible says he that is faithful in that which is little is faithful also in much (Luke 16:10). The Golden Rule is very applicable when it comes to keeping commitments and promises to authorities. However, the Bible also speaks very clearly to those whose authorities are not following the Golden Rule, and insists on honesty and integrity. Col 3:22-24: “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: (23) And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (24) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” 1Peter 2:18: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” The admonition to servants applies to anyone under authority. It also speaks to those of have authority, as most people do in some way, and the importance of keeping their word. Ephesians 6:9: “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” It is important for all both in authority and under it to keep their word so that a healthy relationship can operate.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Responsibility vs. Unreliability Meditation Commentary
Responsibility is knowing and doing what God and others are expecting of me.
“Owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” —Romans 13:8-11
Responsibility indicates that there is a standard you need to measure up to, and things that are expected of you, which indicates the presence of authority. Obviously, there are aspects of authority that require responsibility and reliability. Scenarios involving school, career and parents, are the first that come to mind. The verses above are interesting in that they highlight the chief aspect of responsibility we have towards other people—which is to love one another. This can actually be a tough concept to grasp at times. Sometimes we recognize that we owe people certain things like money, overdue library books, borrowed tools, a favor, a hand, an invitation, respect, time, a paper, a meal, etc., and will agree that people can hold us responsible for not ‘paying’ those things, if we are unreliable in those areas that there is a mutual agreement of responsibility. A job is a good example. It is important to be responsible at work because there are agreed upon conditions that if an employer pays the worker a set amount of money, the worker owes the company a certain amount of time. If a worker does not fit the requirements he or she is responsible for in that job, he or she will be considered unreliable. How often do we have that mindset regarding love to others, though? Paul certainly did, as he saw himself as a debtor to all men (Romans 1:14), and the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 18 reinforces the same concept. Based on the way our Ultimate Authority has treated us, we have a responsibility to treat others the way He wants us to. If our love for others is conditional and inconsistent, we are unreliable. Loving others is one of the things that God, as our authority, requires of us. Responsibility can be a tough thing to grasp or to own up to. It is not easy to take responsibility for things, but if we see God as an authority, we must acknowledge that there are certain things He requires of us. (Micah 6:8; Ecclesiastes 12:13) Easy-believism and a sense of a lack of responsibility is very prevalent in Christian culture, which many people even think is pious because it emphasizes that God does all the work, and do not have to do anything, even choose Him or have faith. However, if we understand that God is our authority, we understand that while we cannot earn anything from Him, there are certain things He holds us responsible for, as His servants and sons (Mal. 1:6). Just as the king in Jesus’ parable held the servant, who was forgiven much, accountable for treating the other servant inconsistently in regard to the king’s mercy, God holds us responsible for responding to His grace and love in a child-like and honest and acceptable way.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Be Reconciled Meditation Commentary
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” —Matthew 5:23-24
“That they may be one; as thou, Father, art I me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one . . .”—John 17:21-23
Understanding how to submit to authorities will influence the way you interact in every other relationship. A lot of times we want to be independent, and stand up for our rights, but when we are in authority under people, we are forced to submit our wills and rights to them. This is actually good practice for other relationships as well. Reconciliation requires an attitude of submission. When we are in a conflict with someone, submitting to one another, (as Ephesians 5:21 says to do), is essential to resolving the conflict. We have to lay down our own rights and view ourselves as a servant a lot of times when we want to reconcile with people. It takes humility to admit we are wrong, and even more humility to go to someone and attempt to reconcile when you are still convinced you are right, and the other person has not apologized. The best example of reconciliation comes from our ultimate authority, who as our Lord and Master, washed our feet (John 13:14). Our mandate of reconciliation is based on His example. “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) Philippians 2 describes the way that Jesus humbled Himself as a servant in order to reconcile us to Him. We have to do the same thing to reconcile with people. Preferring others before yourself is a very important act of our Christian life. When we are under authority, we have to acknowledge the authority as right in many circumstances to keep the job or the peace or whatever the situation is. If we esteem others as better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), as we do our authorities, reconciliation becomes a much easier process.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Self-Control vs. Self-Indulgence
Self-control is the power of the Holy Spirit that results from passing the tests of the Spirit.
Self-Control vs. Self-Indulgence Meditation Commentary
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” —Galatians 5:22-25
It is interesting that these verses describe the fruit of the spirit in conjunction with our responsibility to walk in the spirit and crucify our flesh. The fact that we have to submit to the authority of the Spirit of God means that we have authority and responsibility, as well. The difference between self-control and self-indulgence has to do with whether you are valuing your own authority or the authority of the Spirit more. Romans 6:16 says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Whoever you obey determines whether you are indulging yourself or controlling yourself. It is easy to indulge ourselves, and obey our own selfish impulses and desires, and it is difficult to suppress those desires. In fact, we cannot even do it on our own; we need the help of the Spirit. We do play a role in this though. The Spirit of God is different from other authorities in that He does not force His will on us. Rather, He wants us to yield our desires to Him, and yield our bodies to Him so that He can reign in our lives. Romans 6:12-13 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” We have been made alive and justified by the Spirit, but it is now our responsibility to control our own selfish desires. Again, it is by the Spirit that we are able to do it, but we must yield to that Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, and let Him manifest fruit in our lives. Fruit like self-control takes a while to mature. It does not immediately blossom into a fully ripe fruit overnight. Fruit matures slowly sometimes, and self-control is no exception. God places us in situations that require self-control, and the trick is learning to yield to Him in those situations and let Him take authority in our lives.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Do Not Lust Meditation Commentary
“And if thy right hand offend thee, pluck it out, and cast if from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cast if from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” —Matthew 5:29-30
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness , faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart .”—II Timothy 2:22
Often we think our thoughts are our own territory for us to rule over. After all, if there is one place that is private and personal enough for us to own, it has to be our own thoughts that go through our own minds, right? Is it actually possible, however, to infringe on someone else simply by the way we think?
Obviously, Christians understand that their thoughts must bow before God, and must completely submit to Him as Lord. If God commands His people to think a certain way, and avoid other thoughts, the nature of a servant under the authority of his master demands that God’s people obey Him even in the area of thoughts. However, in the specific command God gives not to lust, there is another area of authority that is infringed upon. When a person lusts, he or she actually steps out of the bounds of his or her own authority and takes authority that he or she has no right to.
It is interesting that the tenth commandment denies the right a person has to covet. Many of the Ten Commandments are fairly concrete and it is clear why the commands not to steal, murder, commit adultery, etc., are given in that those actions hurt other people. In the tenth commandment, however, God goes straight to the root and attacks the mindset and mentality that could bring a great amount of harm. Covetousness involves desiring things you have no right to or authority over. Concupiscence, an obscure King James Biblical word used in Colossians 3:5, is used to describe a longing or desire for what is forbidden. Clearly lust falls under the category of covetousness and concupiscence.
The Bible has an interesting concept in 1 Corinthians 7:3-4. “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” Each spouse has power or authority over the other’s body. Until marriage that person’s body does not belong to you, and when you desire it and undress a girl or disrespect her mentally, you are acting as if her body is yours to derive pleasure from, when that is not the case. Lust crosses the boundaries of your own authority and tries to rob Christ of His, since all our bodies are supposed to belong to Him anyway (1 Cor. 6:20).
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Honor vs. Disrespect Meditation Commentary
Honor is humbling myself in the presence of a God-given authority and expressing my devotion with an appropriate gift.
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” —Psalm 95:6-7
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” —Hebrews 13:17-18
Honor is an undervalued concept in our culture. Other cultures often have more esteem for the concept of honor than we as Americans do. It has to do with respect and reverence, which are often not concepts that care-free and easy-going, tolerant Americans like to think about. We do have some idea of what it is all about. When we put our hand over our hearts and say the Pledge of Allegiance, we are showing honor for our country. When we have a moment of silence for those who have died in battle, we show honor for their sacrifice. When we clap or stand for a well-known speaker we show honor for his position. When we give up a better seat on the bus for an elderly person or a lady, we show honor for age or femininity. Some of these things are still lightly esteemed. Acknowledging and recognizing authority, however, can restore a glorious understanding of honor to the way we interact with people.
If we acknowledge God’s authority, and the authority of His Word in the Bible, we will give Him and His Word due respect and honor. We will esteem those things that have to do with Him or His Word in a higher fashion than we may treat a comic book, psychology newsletter, or Buddha statue. We show honor to God and His Word in many different ways than simply physical like standing for the reading of the Word in church, or putting it in an exalted place. A Muslim friend of mine was surprised to see a Bible on the dashboard of a truck, and mentioned that Christians treat what they claim is the Word of God with so much more disrespect than Muslims do the Koran. My friend who owned the truck explained that he did honor the Word of God, but he honored it by doing what it said, rather than showing reverence for the actual ink and paper. Honor involves showing value by respecting the gravity and authenticity of authority. We honor God by doing what He says. The same goes for the authority of other things. If we acknowledge the authority of our country’s leaders, our parents, our employers, our teachers, or even of other people, we will honor them, and honor those the authorities command to honor. Of course, there is a hierarchy of order. Honor for God comes before honor for any other authority. But if we really honor God, we will also honor those He commands us to honor, which includes everyone around us. (Eph. 5:21)
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Honor Your Parents Meditation Commentary
“For God commanded saying, Honor thy father and mother; and he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” —Matthew 15:4
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” —Ephesians 6:1-3
The word for “honor” reveals a lot about what God’s intentions were in giving this command. The Strong’s definition says, “to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere: - honour, value.” As the definition indicates, this is more than a casual respect or regard or simple obedience. Christians are supposed to prize and value parents which means that we are not to just begrudgingly do what they say because we have to, but must recognize their value. Parents are incredible gifts, especially in the context of the way God intends for families to work. He has provided two people to help and instruct us through life, and to provide examples for how to do basic things, and also to provide and protect and teach social constructs to. Of course, the immediate question is to ask about those parents who do not live in the context of God’s plan…those who are not perfect or who are absent. My dad passed away when I was seven years old, and I have grown up in a single-parent home, with just my mom raising us. Though this may be seen as a drawback, I value and prize and honor my mom even more than I likely would if both of my parents were alive, because I recognize that she has put in so much work and effort into raising us, having to do the job of both parents. I also still value my dad, even though he is not with us, because he did so much for me when he was alive. The command, however, also applies to those whose parents do not live according to God’s guideline. We are to look for and uphold the value in our parents, regardless of how they act. Parents are the authorities God has placed in our lives, and part of honoring them has to do with esteeming them even if we do to agree with them.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Meekness vs. Anger Meditation Commentary
Meekness is yielding my rights to God so He can demonstrate His peace and power through me.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” —James 1:19-21
America is a very “rights” driven society. We talk a lot about our rights: as human beings, as Americans, as citizens, as a man or woman, as a certain ethnicity or race, as Christians, etc., the list goes on and on. We also have this concept that we are our own authority. Government is of the people, and nobody can tell us to do anything that we do not want to do. We are constantly told to stand up for our rights. Meekness, however, flies in the face of all that and is described here as yielding our rights to God. Meekness is essential in submitting to any authorities. We have to be willing to take ourselves down off the pedestal of our own authority, and yield our right to be right, our right to be happy and our right to do what we want, to someone else. Otherwise, we are not under any authority other than our own. The result when an “un-meek person” clashes with someone in authority usually has to do with an angry confrontation. The Bible says, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well-advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10) The ESV puts it this way: “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.” Those who take advice could be summarized as those that are meek. It is wise to be meek. It is wise to let go of our own selfish pride and ‘rights’ so that we can yield to someone else in humility. This can be easily seen in so many relationships. A mom tells her teenage son not to listen to a certain CD, or a father tells a daughter not to dress a certain way, or whatever the case is, and the kid gets angry. Why? Because he or she believes he or she has a right to do these things and the parent is infringing on those rights. A church has certain guidelines for how people on the platform should dress and a singer gets angry when the pastor tells her she cannot sing this service because her dress does not meet the guidelines. She has the right to dress however she wants! Nobody can tell her what to do. As students we have the choice to be meek or angry. We can yield our ‘rights’ to do what we want, or we can get angry that we all of our rights are being challenged by the guidelines the faculty of our school sets in place. These examples have all been with human authority figures but the biggest test comes to the Word of God, and to living for Him, and determining whether we still think we have the right to do certain things, and that God cannot tell us what to do. We are told to receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save our souls. If we do not have meekness, and a willingness to yield our rights, it is hard for us to see that God should have absolute control, and it makes sense that we yield. Meekness requires that we submit to authority and yield to God, and angry confrontation becomes the norm if we do not.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Another semester ended and has begun again, so I thought I would do another meditation commentary series. These are short little 300 word posts relating two concepts from Scripture together. Last time I did this in December the focus was Design, as you can see here: What's a MedComm Anyway? (Repentance and Design). This semester the theme was 'Authority', and each post reflects how the broad concept relates to either a command of Christ or a character quality. Love to hear your thoughts on any of the concepts!
Honoring the responsibilities of parents, church leaders, government, and other authorities and learning how God works through them to provide direction and protection. Honoring my authorities brings Inward Peace.
Follow Me Meditation Commentary
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” —Matthew 4:19
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”—II Corinthians 4:5-7
Authority is a concept from which we tend to shy away a lot of times. The innate pride, rebellion and selfishness that threatens to rule our lives as humans is in complete opposition to the concept of authority. We may not cringe at the thought of all authority, however—only the authority that is over us. As humans, we do not like to be told what to do, but as Christians, it is imperative to recognize that God needs to have complete authority over our lives, and that He places others in authority over us as well. There is something wonderful that pervades God’s authority though. Sometimes when we think of authority, we think of a power-hungry tyrant, with armies of brutal soldiers at his command, or a ruler snapping principal who is intent on enforcing the ‘no chewing gum in class’ rule, or a police officer who is delighted to give us a ticket for going 3 over the speed limit. God’s authority is not the authority of an iron fist, however. In fact, we do not even have to submit to it. He gives us a choice. “Follow me,” is the command of Christ. We can choose to place ourselves under His loving rule or not, but once we put our hands to the plow, and declare Him Lord, He expects us not to look back, or we are not fit for the kingdom of God. Once we follow this command, any other authority in our lives must fall under that umbrella. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) Clearly, the Apostle Paul was seen as an authority in the Corinthian church, but he made it clear that the authority was only valid if he was under the ultimate authority of Christ. Our job is to follow Christ wherever He leads. If another authority in our lives is following Christ, then we fall right in line behind that person. On the other hand, if an authority in our lives makes a break from that path of following Christ, our duty is to keep on the straight and narrow path of following Him, and ignore the road the other person takes. We see this concept over and over again when the Bible talks about authority. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord,”… “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord.” (emphasis added.) We are told to submit to governments, but when the government comes in between us and our Lord, we are to have the same response as the apostles in Acts 4:19: “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto ye, rather than unto God, judge ye.” When we think about authority, the command of Jesus needs to be our top priority: “Follow me.” All other authority falls beneath that command.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
This is a paper I wrote a few months ago, but thought I would make it available to everyone in cyberspace.
In light of the fact that Jesus Christ our Lord views us as His cherished Bride, how does this affect your perspective on the following:
Understanding the definition of worship as intense focus and devotion, in light of the fact mentioned above, brings an incredible perspective to worship. Worship suddenly becomes a natural outpouring of our heart, when we begin to see Christ the way He really is, and fall in love with Him for that reason. Worship ceases to be a drudgery that we have to perform, as if we were grudgingly bowing down in front of a king whose policies and ideals we don’t really agree with, but that we still have to honor—instead, worship is a response in devotion and love to the great love and faithfulness He has shown us!
Sin can be thought of as breaking a law, or doing something wrong, and it is. But looking at it from the angle that Christ is our “groom”, and we are His “cherished bride”, makes it less about a formalized code that we are breaking, and more about hurting Someone we love. The realization of who Christ is and the way He sees us should change our motivation behind not sinning. The reason I do not want to sin is not because I am trying to avoid hell or get to heaven; it is because I love Jesus and do not want to do anything that displeases Him, particularly in the light of all the grace He has shown us, and how much He loves us and is looking out for our best interests. Psalm 10:4 has an interesting statement about the wicked. It says, “God is not in all his thoughts.” I noticed it does not say, “God is not in his thoughts at all”, but rather that the wicked person is not thinking about God all the time. What that tells me is that if we have the mentality that we are in love with Him and He is in love with us, just like a groom and his bride, all our thoughts will be centered on Him and what He desires, and what we desire will pale in comparison. That is the thing that will keep us from wickedness.
The verse that comes to my mind in relation to being obedient to Christ is 1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Because we understand the relationship that exists between ourselves and Jesus, we should not think of obedience to Him as a grievous thing, like following the rules of a strict taskmaster. We are so overwhelmed with gratitude and love because we do not deserve anything that He has given us and we want to do whatever we possibly can to show Him our love, that obedience should be the natural response of the heart to express our love for Him. In a healthy marriage relationship, a wife obeys her husband, not because she is scared of him or insecure, but because she wants to demonstrate that she respects, trusts, and honors him. Our relationship with Christ should have the same impetus.
The whole reason Jesus uses this metaphor is because there is an unbreakable covenant that is enacted when two people are married. The husband does not have his own life separate from his wife. The two become one. It is the same when we make a covenant with Christ. Colossians 3:4 is one of my favorite verses describing this, and it says, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Christ doesn’t just give us a new life for us to go live on our own…He becomes our life! Our old life is dead. As was mentioned in the sermon we listened to in class, love involves leaving your old life to begin a new life, completely entwined with your spouse, and the purpose of your life becomes to please him/her. When we become a Christian, the purpose of our life becomes to please our husband, Christ, and we cease to look at our own interests and expectations, and focus on Him and what He wants and who He is.