Upon reading the Bible we could possibly perceive God's Word as a long list of difficult duties and near impossible commands to us. We might get the impression that the Lord is a harsh, exacting and demanding kind of person. We might see Him as someone who demands obedience from a distance. We might feel as if the Lord is asking us to do the impossible (to lift ourselves up by our bootstraps, as it were) yet giving us no means of help. But all these sort of thoughts are so far from the truth!
It’s helpful to remember that the Lord's will for us comes out of who He is; His good, essential and unchanging nature. Jesus taught us: be merciful, because Your Father is merciful (Luke 6:36). So when we see a demand from the Lord for us to be merciful, forgiving, kind or righteous we can rejoice in the fact that our God is just like that. He has absolute integrity and would never ask us to be something He Himself is not. Furthermore, because God is a certain way, it means that He will treat us accordingly. So when we come across a command to behave a certain way, we can learn that this is the way He wants to treat us. When we read, for example, that we should love our enemies, we can rejoice in the fact that God does just that when we occasionally behave like His enemies!
If we take a further look at some of the Ten Commandments we can rejoice even more. Each commandment that deals with human relationships doesn't only indicate how the Lord wants us to treat others, it also shows how He wants us to be treated. So looking at it from this perspective, we learn that God doesn't want you and me to be stolen from; He doesn't want us to be betrayed, and He doesn't want us to be lied to. Truly God's heart to us is good.
During His life on earth Jesus completely obeyed God and never broke His laws. I find this so encouraging. It means that everything the Lord asks of you and me He’s already done Himself (but perfectly). Then the Bible adds that He sympathises with the fact that we’re weak and feeble, and He promises to be near us to help us fulfil His will, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God's intention when giving His commandments is to instruct us, to teach us, to help us and to show us the way. He doesn't want us to become overwhelmed, discouraged or despondent because of them. The Bible says to fathers not to ‘exasperate your children’ (Ephesians 6:4). So surely He wouldn't surely treat us this way Himself. No, He loves to encourage us so He can see a heart that desires to fully love and obey Him. Be encouraged today to call out to Jesus and to ask Him to fill you with His mighty Holy Spirit so you’re empowered to do His will. May God help us to see His loving heart behind all of His instructions. The more we’re enabled to fulfil His commands, the more fulfilled our lives become.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I confess that sometimes I’ve seen your commands as burdensome. But You’re not an unkind God. ‘Open My eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law’, and fill my heart with the desire and ability to walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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