Do you do what it says?

July 3, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Have you ever heard someone say that there are hard sayings in the Bible? At first read, this doesn’t sound like it is one of them, but take a very close look at the last four words of this passage.

“Do what it says.”

It doesn’t say to try to do what it says. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it is convenient. It doesn’t tell us to do what it says when it benefits us. It simply tells us to do what it says.

If you are like every other human being alive today, you probably don’t like to follow directions very well, especially when those directions come from someone that you think doesn’t know you and how you like to do things. How many have ever had a job where they handed you an employee manual? You were expected to perform according to that manual. You were required to read it and abide by what was contained within its pages.

How many of you truly know God’s manual that He has given to us? Do we spend enough time within God’s Word so that we know it? How can we do what it says if we don’t know what it says? Most of us are well versed in the basics, but, we need to get beyond the basic training that we have received. We are soldiers who are called to a higher understanding. We are, according to Paul, like athletes who are called to train for the competition.

No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.
(2 Timothy 2:4-5 (NIV))

That training requires us to know the rules thoroughly. What are the rules that we are to live by? What are the rules that should govern our lives?

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

According to James, we should know God’s Word like we know our own faces. We should reflect God’s Word. What do you reflect?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?

March 6, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

I want you to be honest with me. Actually, I want you to be honest with yourself. How well do you keep these two commandments?

We say that we love God, but do we love Him with all our heart and all our soul? That is a big commitment. It is one that takes more than an occasional “Amen” on Sunday. It takes more than simply having a Bible. It takes more than acknowledging God when it is convenient for us. Every aspect, every moment, every breath should be dedicated to God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV))

Is that possible for a sinful creation to place God above all else, after all, we are a selfish creation. We place ourselves above everything and everyone. Most of the time, we would rather ignore our neighbor if we could, yet we are told to love our neighbor as ourself. We are to not only place God above ourselves, we are to place our neighbor equal to ourselves.

Ouch !!!

I fully understand why Jesus answered the question in this way, but why does it have to shake us up, why does it have to rattle our cages, why does it have to make us move outside of our comfort zones? I suppose for the very same reason that Jesus placed God first in the Lord’s Prayer. It makes us think of others first. It makes us think of the well being of all of God’s creation and not just the part that He created for us. He wants to turn our world upside down. He wants us to reach out in praise. He wants us to reach out in prayer. He wants us to reach out in humility, for it is after we reach out to Him and to our neighbor, we realize His great love for us is not just for us. It is for everyone.

“This, then, is how you should pray:
” `Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
(Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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