DEUTERONOMY 13:4 – You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.
THEME OF THE DAY. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IN SIX WORDS. Defining the Christian life presents little difficulty to the believer who has a good grasp on God’s Word in its unfolding of salvation. A Christian is a person “in Christ” and a wonderful expansion of this truth comes from the excellent little book by Gary Millar, Need to Know. He writes, “When you are trying to explain to someone what it means when you say you’re a Christian, remember this: Christianity is not a mindset or a worldview or a philosophy of life (although it does produce all these). Christianity is founded on and flows from and leads to knowing and enjoying God the Trinity forever.” Really good, huh? But how do we go from defining Christianity to “doing” Christianity? Today’s scripture gives us an excellent road map that covers every aspect of what it means to not only be a true Christian but live the Christian life as God intends This practice is found in six verbs – follow, fear, keep, listen, serve, and cling.
First, the Christian life begins with the ongoing resolve to follow the Lord Jesus. He told us upfront the cost to be paid, and must be paid, if we want to be His disciples – Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me (Matthew 16:24). Friends, we don’t even get out of the gate in the Christian race if we don’t seriously consider what Jesus says are the requirements to follow Him; a life of self-denial and suffering. But if we are there in our commitment, we move on to the next actions in the Christian life. Next, the Christian life is fueled by the fear of God; a fear of not being afraid of God, but duly respectful of Him to the point of hating what He hates – sin; pursuing what He is – holy; and loving what He loves – His Son, the Lord Jesus. Where this fear is lacking, no discipleship occurs and worldliness abounds.
Moving on in doing the Christian life, we land on the words “keep His commandments” and this is not difficult for us. The purpose behind salvation is to be a re-created people capable of loving God by obeying Him. Please get this. We love God by obeying His commands (John 14:15). Let’s not deceive ourselves by saying or singing “I love You, Lord” while we are slow or neglecting consistent obedience to His Word. The verb “keep” is right now. We obey right now. The fourth word in living out the Christian life is “listen.” What is implied here is prayer. And maybe we need to be reminded that prayer isn’t all about us talking to God. It is not a dominated conversation of one way. It isn’t about us asking, asking, and asking. Prayer includes silent waiting on Him; a stillness before Him to hear Him. If our prayer lives are all talk and no meditation and silence, then it isn’t Biblical or relational. It is self-serving and mechanical.
Moses provides us the fifth word of doing the Christian life – “serve.” Now we find balance. We cannot be Christians who read Bibles, listen to sermons, do Bible studies, attend church, but are not active in service to God’s people and the world. Be an “intake only” Christian, and we will be spiritually obese Christians – unhealthy and ineffective.
Finally, and fitting, in practicing the Christian life is the word “cling” or abide. One is immediately drawn to the height of Christian living and experience – the abiding in Christ life defined in John’s gospel, chapter fifteen. Take time today and read it. It will be food for your soul and a great blessing. When it comes to a clinging or abiding in Christ, we are pointed to an intimate relationship that is pursued and enjoyed constantly. It is living in the awareness of His help and Presence and that by faith (Galatians 2:20).
The Christian life in six words. Thank God for the simplicity in His instructions, and thank Him for the power of His grace to follow them!
PRAYER: “Father, help me follow You, fear You, keep Your commandments, listen to Your voice, serve and cling to You.”
QUOTE: “Follow, fear, keep, obey, listen, serve and cling – all actions guiding us to look to Jesus.”