Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 21 November 2022:
2 Kings 10:28-31 — Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. And the LORD said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.
Jehu live a compromised life and, therefore, limited the impact his life could have and should have had on the world. Jehu did great things and wiped out Baal from Isreal. “But Jehu did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam…. Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD with all his heart.” Though Jehu removed Baal worship from Israel, he didn’t remove the golden calves that were in Bethel and In Dan. These calves had been around for about 100 years since Jeroboam had constructed them as alternative worship sites to the temple in Jerusalem because Jeroboam wanted to keep his people from being influenced by Jerusalem politically. Calf worship was part of the political, cultural, and social landscape of the nation. Though this idolatrous worship was clearly ungodly, it was accepted by everyone.
Today, for us to live the lives of impact God would have us live, we must be very “careful to walk in the law of the LORD… with all [our] heart[s].” To do so, we must be careful not to accept the sins of our culture which have been widely accepted as ‘normal’ or ‘expected.’ Follow God’s law, not social norms. What are the socially acceptable sins you have allowed to remain standing in your life? Don’t allow you epitaph to have a “but” in it like Jehu’s.
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
No one comes to the Father but through Jesus, period. Do you believe Jesus enough to proclaim this eternal message to everyone you know?
“If you are walking daily with the Lord, you will not have to find God’s will—you will already be in it. If you are walking with Him in obedience day by day, you will always be in the will of God. The Holy Spirit’s role is to guide you step by step to do God’s will. Walking closely with God each day guarantees that you will be exactly where He wants you to be. You would have to reject all of the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life in order to get out of the will of God. The disciples never had to ask Jesus where they should go next. They simply looked to see where Jesus was going and stayed close to Him! Jesus was their “way.” They didn’t need a map as long as they had Jesus. Too often, we would prefer a road map of our future rather than a relationship with the Way. It often seems easier to follow a plan than to cultivate a relationship. We can become more concerned with our future than we are with walking intimately with God today. Jesus will never give you a substitute for Himself. He is the only way to the Father. That’s why it is critical that you clearly know when God is speaking to you (Isa. 30:21). If you are disoriented to how God speaks, you will not understand when He is giving you a new revelation about what He is doing. If you want to know God’s will, take time to cultivate your relationship with Jesus and learn to identify His voice. He is more than willing to show you the way.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
John 14:6, 7 – Jesus said to him…. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.”
Jesus and the Father are one. Jesus is the Way God has provided for people to know Him – there is no other way, no other truth, no other life. We can’t approach God on our own terms. See also John 17:3
John 14:10 – The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
Jesus only spoke the words of God through the power of God and in the authority of God. We should do the same.
John 14:12-14 — Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus operated under the authority and power of the Father, and was solely obedient to His will. He modeled how we are to live our lives. If we truly believe, we will surrender entirely to His authority, will, and power.
Do you believe that Jesus expects us to do greater things than He did because of the power, authority and support we have in Him? Do you understand that asking “in” His name is asking within His will and for His will to be accomplished? When your prayers are for what God wants rather than merely what you want, your prayers will be answered with “Yes.” Our prayers must be God-centered, not self-centered, asking that God’s will be done, not our will.
John 14:15, 16, 21, 23, 24 — If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me…. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word…. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.
When something is repeated in the Bible it is for emphasis. Three times in John 14 alone, Jesus reiterates that love and obedience go hand-in-hand. Many people believe in God, but James reminds us that even the demons believe in God – “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19) There is a difference between knowledge of the Truth and faith in the Truth which loves, trusts, and obeys. James goes on to say that faith without works is dead. Obedience is not the path to salvation but rather the product, the fruit, the evidence of saving faith.
To love God is to obey Him with contentment from the heart – “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) Jesus points out that love inspired obedience will be VERY powerful in the life of a true Christian – “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it…. the Spirit of Truth… will be in you…. I will love him and manifest myself to him…. The Helper… will teach you all things…. Peace I leave with you.” The powerless Christian has a love problem. The loving Christian will be evident to all by the power of the Spirit flowing through him or her. How is your spiritual love life?
“Obedience to God’s commands comes from your heart. When you struggle to obey God, that is a clear indication that your heart for the Lord isn’t what it should be, you are not wholeheartedly with Him. Some claim: ‘I love God, but I’m having difficulty obeying Him in certain areas of my life.’ What did Jesus say? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John adds, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” In other words, when you love Jesus, obedience is not hard, rather it is what you really want to do. If I were to ask you, ‘Do you love God?’ you might easily respond, ‘Yes!’ However, if I were to ask you, ‘Are you obeying God?’ would you answer yes as quickly? Yet, I would be asking you the same question! Genuine love for God leads to wholehearted obedience.
However, acts of outward obedience without love are really only displays of legalism, prideful self-righteousness, which automatically disobeys the primary commandment of love — “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Many conscientious Christians seek to cultivate discipline in their lives to be more obedient to Christ. As helpful as spiritual disciplines can be, they never can replace your love for God. Love is the discipline. God looks beyond your godly habits, beyond your moral lifestyle, and beyond your church involvement and focuses His penetrating gaze upon your heart. Does your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control change with your circumstances or remain constant because they are based on the unchanging presence of God in your life? Are in constant, joyful worship as you remain in His presence, or has your worship become empty and routine? Do you thirst for God’s word or have you lost your motivation to read God’s Word? Are you experiencing spiritual vibrancy or lethargy? Are you in continuous, confident prayer, or has your prayer life been reduced to a ritual which feels empty? If you find yourself answering in the negative, these are symptoms of a heart that has shifted away from God. Return to your first love. “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:7)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 November 2022: Pray that God would increase your love and heartfelt commitment to obey Him for His glory.