1 John 2:3-4 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
It is very interesting and significant that John, the “Apostle of Love,” would write something as blunt and hard-hitting as this. Real love isn’t weak! But then John was the one who recorded Jesus saying, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) There are so many people who say to Jesus, “I love you, but…” When it comes to knowing and loving God, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! Actually, this line of thinking is throughout the Bible, with Moses, David, Paul, James, and several prophets all chiming in. Today you find numbers of people who say things like “God wouldn’t condemn me for being gay.” He won’t condemn you for feeling same-sex attraction, but He has very clearly said that acting out such attraction physically is forbidden. The devil lies to us in every way, but one of the chief of those ways is, “If it feels good, do it.” The thing is, the “feels” there is always physical. It feels very good to bless others and meet their needs, and there is very little risk to that. However, distortions of our natural – and originally pure and beautiful – desires abound, and they can be pitfalls indeed. Knowing God is our highest calling, and as such carries the greatest rewards, but there are no shortcuts that we can make; it has to come through obedience.
I know all about this one! Growing up immersed in the Bible as I did, I knew a great deal about God, but that wasn’t at all the same thing as knowing Him. I was already married and a father when the Lord very gently – though it was a huge shock to me – brought me to my senses. I wish I could say I went immediately to full obedience at that point, but I can’t. Growth in knowing Him has very much been growth in obedience. Willful disobedience is like taking a “stupid pill!” I have found that choosing to disobey God immediately disconnects me from logic and reason, and the results are all too predictable. As a pastor/teacher I am charged with teaching others about God, but I must make it clear that knowing Him involves obedience. There is a man who has attended this church for several years without committing to Jesus as Lord, because there’s one area in which he has no intention of obeying what he knows is God’s will. It’s quite pathetic, really. He has no real joy, but he fears the “loss” of his favorite vice. To him and to everyone I am to speak the truth in love by the power of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to do the convicting and not trying to do it myself. In that and in everything else I am to seek God’s will to do it, for His glory.
Father, thank You for making it possible to know You. That’s incredibly gracious of You! Help me press in more and more, in ever-deepening fellowship and obedience, so that Your will may be done in and through me on every level, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!