Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Five Commands Directing the Christian Life

PSALM 37:5; 1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. |  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I wonder how often we make the Christian life far more complex than God intends. I am not for once thinking the Christian life is easy. Just one statement from the Lord Jesus removes any such thought – And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). There is nothing easy about constantly saying “no” to personal desires and one’s will; there is nothing easy about constantly taking up the painful instrument of daily death–a cross of suffering; and there is nothing easy about constantly and intentionally putting God’s commands into action in following Jesus. But those are simple and clear as are all the other commands of God. He doesn’t hide in some spiritual fog what He expects and deserves from us–lives of affectionate obedience to His commands. And in today’s two scriptures, we encounter five practical commands directing the Christian life. These will help us, guide us, and empower us no matter our circumstances or situations. So whatever is happening in our lives, apply these five commands. They will keep you close to the Lord and put forth the sweet fragrance of Him everywhere we go.

First, commit yourself to include your plans and days to Him. A good practice each morning before we get out of bed is simply pray, “Good morning, Lord, thank you for Your new day mercies. I commit my day to You.” As we do, remember to leave it with Him. No taking the day back in our worries and fears which leads to the second command directing the Christian life – Trust in the Lord every waking moment. When tempted to become anxious, stop, tell Him, and affirm your trust in Him. Another sample prayer, “Lord, I committed the day to You. Right now I am facing something that is about to overwhelm me with fear and anxiety, but I choose to trust You. Now. ”Doing so will keep our faith alive and practical as we walk close to Him in the trials of the day.

A third command to live the Christian life is rejoice always. Simple? Yes. Difficult? Often and this is when personal resolve and the exercise of our wills must rule over our emotions. Obeying this command helps us overcome the preoccupation with ourselves and circumstances shifting them to the Lord, the controller of our circumstances.

The fourth command is pray without ceasing which directs us to live in the constant awareness of the Lord, daily walking with Him. Remember, prayer is the language of love; the means of communication with our Lord and is the foundation for living the Christian life.

Finally, to direct the Christian life in its simplicity is the command give thanks in all circumstances. Here is the life of worship seeing everything through God’s goodness and responding, even in pain and suffering, with a heart of thanksgiving knowing and relying upon the truth–all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28).

God has given us simple commands to live our lives for Him. May He teach and empower us to obey them!

PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for giving clear directions by way of commands to live a life pleasing to You.”
QUOTE: “Commit, trust, rejoice, pray, and give thanks sums up the whole of the Christian life. Simple and direct.”

Because of Him,
Pastor Jim