May 13, 2017


Deuteronomy 30:14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it.

This statement of Moses is particularly famous among Christians because Paul quoted it. (Romans 10:8) In a sense this describes an ideal situation, because for many people the Word of God is not in their mouth and heart. That is tragic, because then they have nothing on which to base the famous choice set forth in verse 19 between life and death. From Paul on, everyone involved in evangelism has sought to get enough of God’s Word into people to enable them to make that choice of life. The Word is infinitely deep, so we can and should keep going further into it as long as we live, but a surprisingly small portion of it is sufficient to bring someone to saving faith. The kicker, however, is the whole matter of choice and commitment. Even this verse ends with, “so that you may obey it.” It makes no difference to know the truth if we don’t apply it. That’s what James was talking about in his famous statement. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) This is also what Jesus was talking about in his famous parable of the two men who built on sand and bedrock. (Matthew 7:24-27) Sometimes people complain that God’s requirements are impossible to meet, but that is never the case. Even in this verse, the Japanese renders the last part as, “You can do these things.” Paul said, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) God never tells us to give something He hasn’t supplied, and He never tells us to do anything He doesn’t enable us to do. As Moses and virtually every prophet after him said, it comes down to our choice, to believe and to obey.

This certainly applies to me, as it does to every human being who has ever lived or will live. God is love, and He created us as an expression of that love. He then doubled down and sent His Son to redeem us, as the ultimate expression of that love. (John 3:16) My calling in life is to communicate that love to as many people as will receive it, but even if I succeed in doing that, it will do me no good if I fail to act on it myself. There have actually been evangelists who were not saved themselves, but people did get saved through their “ministry,” even though they themselves were in it for the money. I must not be like that! I must personally receive and apply every word the Lord speaks through me, not thinking that because I said it, that means I’m doing it. We can be remarkably adept at deceiving ourselves that way. The Word must not just be in my mouth but in my heart as well, to apply it every moment of my life.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for Your unending, at times overwhelming, grace toward me. Thank You for Your solution to the ultimately minor problem of connecting the new projector to the network. The instructions were there in Japanese but not in English, and my reading ability was not sufficient to pick up on them. Thank You for the patience of the woman at the “Information Center” who walked me through the necessary steps. Thank You for the further degradation of my pride, that I’d like to get rid of completely! Help me live out Your Word more and more completely, so that it may accomplish through me everything for which You send it, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
This entry was posted in Christian, encouragement, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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