Here’s a few things God is showing me lately and teaching me….they’re not fully formed and I think God wants to teach me more layers but I wanted to go ahead and share because I’ve been really encouraged:
Two passages I’ve been looking at are James 1:19-20, 26 and Deuteronomy 30.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Deuteronomy 30:6-9, 11, 14, 20
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands …
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I lose my temper and am impatient often; I’m grieved by how often. In the past, I lowered the expectation as to how often I would lose my temper thinking ‘be holy, as I am holy’ was out of my reach.
But I have been challenged by several things in these passages. One – Religion that is valuable is one that affects my actions. Two – My anger does not accomplish what I wish; it is only destructive.
But what I found most encouraging in these passages is this: what God commands is not too difficult for me. He has already provided what I need to meet the expectation! And in these two passages, it became clear to me the ‘how’ of obeying: humbly accept the word planted in you AND the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
It’s funny how something so basic to our faith can suddenly seem so fresh and new. But the importance of knowing the Word and really believing it so that I do it feels very apparent from these verses.
And the final thought I had as I read Deuteronomy is this : in obedience is life. Over and over again, God says ‘obey me. You live! You prosper! You’re blessed! OR if you don’t obey me, if you don’t love me, if you don’t follow my commands there is death, curses, destruction.’ I just feel God’s heart pleading with the Israelites (and us) to obey him, to do what He asks. Because in Him we have life: Genuine, vibrant, joyful life!