John 14:15, 23 “If ye love me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS… 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will KEEP MY WORDS: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.”
John 15:10 “If ye KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
In considering the above, it is clear to me that…
(1) It is far too easy to look at the transgressions of others, in comparison to my own inward sins, when considering the command to keep (guard) the words of God in my own heart.
(2) It is far too easy to dismiss experimentally keeping (guarding in the heart) the commandments of God, by thinking things like “I have faith in Christ; therefore I’ve kept, and obeyed, all of the commandments perfectly in Him;” as if this perfect, objective truth somehow obviates our need to obey God and to keep his words in our experience. This command to guard His commandments, so as to obey and do them, is meant for us to walk in. We are not called to do so in some mercenary sense; our motive must be out of love and thanksgiving. So on a personal, subjective level, and in a spiritual sense, we are to indeed keep God’s words and we are to indeed seek to faithfully obey them; not to gain salvation but because we already have it; not to merit righteousness but because we are already perfectly righteous in, and by, Christ.
(3) It is far to easy to get caught up in the things of time and sense; the pleasures and pains of this world; rather than immersing myself deeply in the word of God, and keeping His word thoroughly burned into (and burning in) my heart.
(4) It is far too easy to write a post like this one than to deeply, and consistently, live out that sobering reality, i.e., that we are called, and saved, to (1) forsake self and (2) serve God and His people. We are quickened, we are given life, so that we may love Him, obey Him, be subject to Him in all things, as we ever strive to put His will before our own. And yet, do I even begin to scratch the surface? Sadly, no. If I so strive, it is only because God is working that striving in me… without Him, I truly can do nothing — not anything good, not anything spiritual, not anything pleasing in His sight.
In light of the above, I need prayer and realise all the more how important it is for brethren to pray for one another; especially as it pertains to spiritual things. We really should pray for one another… I surely need the prayers of the saints and I surely need more grace and consistency of action to pray for others. But why do I need the prayers of the brethren? If God blesses them, I need them to help experientially overcome my own folly; the folly of this unsaved world; my proneness to wander (Lord I do feel it); my proneness to murmur against those without; my proneness to let worldly learning distract me from God’s word (and there is indeed a whole ‘world’ of learning out there to distract, even a never-ending supply of ‘other things’ to think about and ponder).
I suspect other brethren may have some of the same struggles; though I wouldn’t wish them on anyone, there is a bit of comfort in knowing that these things are not unique to me, and that others struggle with the same. Which, again, is why we need to pray for one another; praying for more faith, more grace, more sobriety, more vigilance and diligence, and more ‘practical application’ of that faith and grace God gives us, in all that we do. We need to pray for greater divine love and for a greater felt sense of God’s divine love upon us. Pray for more mercy; more commitment and fidelity; more boldness; more gentleness; more wisdom; more felt forgiveness; more willingness to forgive; more sense of clarity and purpose; more of a giving heart; more character and integrity; more everything else that will make us more Christ-like in our walk, in our sojourn existence.
We have not because we ask not and when we do ask, we often ask amiss. We need prayer for the grace and mercy to even ask for things correctly; giving thanks, making supplication, praying fervently. We shouldn’t ask just for ourselves, or our households, or our earthly kin. We ought to beseech God concerning all of these things, for all of His people, even for all of the members of Christ’s body. We should pray for every cell of the body, but especially for those quickened ones that we know personally, or that we at least know of (in other churches, other states, other lands, etc.).
Finally, I pray for grace not to be a hypocrite, not to just talk, not to just write “good words” or “right words,” but to live out this so great salvation in sincerity, in truth, in wisdom, and most importantly, in Christ, objectively and experimentally.
To God be the glory, Amen.