Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan
is Genesis 49, 50; Psalm 19; Matthew 19
Today's scripture focus
is 1 John 2:3
1 John 2:3 says:
“This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands.”
I love the first part of my allotted sentence (not that I have anything whatsoever against the second part)! This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him.
What I love is the certainty that John has written into this one little sentence. The New Oxford American Dictionary (my apologies to Webster, but this is the one that came with my computer) defines “sure” as being “confident in what one thinks or knows; having no doubt that one is right” and that something is “true beyond any doubt”. That same dictionary defines the word “know” as being “aware of through observation, inquiry, or information” and being “absolutely certain or sure about something”.
How I would love to be able to say that I, Roxie, am sure that I know God. I feel that with each moment I spend in prayer, each verse I read, each topic I discuss, I am learning; I am coming to know Him. How can I be certain that I know Him, fully and completely? John Gill wrote a beautiful description in his commentary of what true, deep understanding of God is and isn’t...that Christians could know God
“...not as the God of nature, and by the light of it, nor as the lawgiver and Judge of the whole earth, and by the law of Moses; but as the God of all grace, as a God pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin, as the Father of Christ, and as in him by the Gospel; and this not in a mere notional and speculative way, but with love and affection; not with fear and trembling, as devils know him, nor in theory, as formal professors and hypocrites, but with a knowledge, joined with hearty love of him, and cheerful obedience to him: or else Christ, the advocate and propitiation for sin; and him also, not with a mere notional knowledge of his person and offices, which carnal men and devils themselves have of him, but with that which is spiritual, special, and saving, being from the Spirit and grace of God; and regards Christ as a Saviour, as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, and an advocate with God the Father; and by which he is approved as such, to the rejection of all other savours, sacrifices, and advocates; and is trusted, confided, and believed in as such, and affectionately loved, and that above all others, in sincerity and truth; and is readily obeyed in his word and ordinances; for where there is true knowledge of Christ, there is faith in him; and where there is faith in him, there is love to him, for faith works by love; and where there is love to him, there will be an observance of his commands; and this is here made the evidence of the true knowledge of him...”
And that is just what Jesus pointed out when asked about the most important commandments.
Mark 12:28-31 says, 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Though I feel as though Matthew 22:34-40 took it one step further...or maybe just said it in a different way that made me look twice:
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. These two commandments to love. To LOVE!!! To love God and to love my neighbour, could it be any more clear? Could it seem any easier?
Yet, I have to come back to my previous comments and wonder: why do I feel like I don’t know God? I confess that I am a slacker when it comes to consistently regular devos and I let life (including hunger and sleep) get in the way of intense, concentrated prayer times, but love. Society says that love is easy, love is free. Experience tells me that love is hard. I fail so very often to love..because my neighbour isn’t necessarily my husband or my mom and dad or my siblings or nieces or friends...most of the time they are easy to love...but the lady that calls me at work to talk about the same thing every day just as I am tired and getting ready to go home for the day; the person who shouts insults at my driving; the sniffling cashier at the grocery checkout; the community gossip; the guy who ripped us off; the very vocal Christian leader in the community who doesn't "walk the talk" ...these...these are the people I am supposed to love...to forgive...to treat like I want to be treated...to love as myself... and by loving them, I get to know the heart of my God.
May I see with Your eyes, hear with Your ears and feel with Your heart today, O God, and every day, that I may know You by loving those You love. Teach me to love like You love that I may truly and deeply know You.
Monday's scripture focus
: 1 John 2:4-6
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage
passage: Exodus 1,2