ECCLESIASTES 12:13-14 – The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
THEME OF THE DAY: THE SIMPLE CHRISTIAN LIFE. The theme of today’s nugget DOES NOT READ “The Easy Christian Life.” We know there is no such pursuit, and to remind us, listen to the words of the Lord Jesus, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). There is nothing easy about the Christian life. How can it be when we are called to a daily warfare against a crafty devil, an alluring world, and a deceitful flesh? How can it be when we are called to daily take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow the commands of the Lord Jesus? How can it be when we are called to live separated from the world and live for the next? How can it be when we are called to love God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength? And how can it be when we are called to ponder and practice today’s scripture? Yet, in all the difficulties of the Christian life I just described, there is a refreshing simplicity about the Christian life and it is found in today’s scripture.
First, the simple Christian life is lived by fearing God – Fear God. What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean being afraid of God and living like we walk on eggshells thinking God is ready “to pounce on us” for any act of disobedience. That isn’t Christianity. Christianity is a life of confident love in relationship with the God who is our heavenly Father. And that understanding produces the proper fear of God. This fear is well-defined by John Murray, “The fear of God in which godliness consists is the fear which constrains adoration and love. It is the fear which consists in awe, reverence, honor, and worship, and all of these on the highest level of exercise. It is the reflex in our consciousness of the transcendent majesty and holiness of God.” On a practical note, this fear in the lives of believers causes them to shun all evil, separate from the world and pursue holiness out of respect and love for God. It is not slavish nor a practice of joyless bondage. It is a delight to live pleasing the Lord in thought, action, and attitude.
Next, the simple Christian life is lived by intentional obedience to God’s commandments – keep His commandments. This is truly the whole duty and privilege we have as God’s children. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). So instead of saying, “I love You, Lord” evaluate our lives and see how consistent and intentional we are in obeying God’s Word. That is the measurement of love and living the simple Christian life. And this takes work. We are prone to “mindless Christianity” which is basically reading the Bible and hearing sermons but never putting them into our lives by practice. Start today to be purposeful in living the simple Christian life. When we encounter commands, stop and ask God to help us make them active in our lives, and then be an answer to our prayer by making the commands active in our lives. Greater joy comes by greater obedience.
The Christian life. Not easy, but simple. Fear and obey God. May He help us to cut away our own understanding of the Christian life and get back to this simplicity God intends.
PRAYER: “Father, help me see Your call to me is a simple life focusing on walking in Your fear and obeying Your Word.”
QUOTE: “Fear God, keep His commandments and we will have discovered the simple Christian life.”