Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 4 August 21:
Luke 13:14-16 – But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’”
Without love, God’s word and commands will be misapplied. When Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father, religious people, using God’s word, called Him a sinner. Jesus called people who claimed to know Him but lacked love hypocrites (stage actors), people pridefully pretending to be something they weren’t for personal recognition and other self-serving, unloving reasons. The Pharisees diligently studied the Scriptures, but they didn’t know God and the power of His love – “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
Bible study is essential. You can’t love the God you don’t really know, and He reveals Himself to us through His word. The more you know God through prayerful, spirit-led study of His word, the better you can love Him and subsequently love others. The Bible says, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) So, if your Bible study isn’t leading you to ever-increasing love, it isn’t leading you closer to Him. Don’t be one of those who read and acquire rules without relationship, who seek principles rather than the Person of Jesus Christ, who learn but never learn how to love, and who practice externalism – cleaning the outside of the dish. Diligently study God’s word, but study it to know God rather than simply know about God, and apply God’s word in love, guided by the Holy Spirit.
- Proverbs 26:9 -- Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. - 1 John 4:8 -- Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. - Matthew 7:15-20 -- “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 — If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
- Matthew 12:36 — I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak….
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 August 21: Speak the truth in love, only with love.