Every Idle Word

Most people seem to think their spiritual lives are their own business, of no one else’s concern, an extremely private matter. Yet Jesus said we’d each give a public account of every word we’ve ever spoken. (Mt_12:36) The implications are staggering; some day, somewhere, our words and actions, all of our willful activity, will be on display before the universe; we’ll be explaining our motives to God, why we did what we did, in every detail of our lives, in the presence of the angels and all of humanity.

Hubble: Sombrero galaxy

In that awesome Day, no one’s opinion will matter but God’s; His Law is the standard by which all our motives will be measured. (Jn 5:45) Nothing will be overlooked; nothing will be missed. (Lk_8:17)

How we spent our time, our money and energy, our loves and affections, our hatreds and lusts, it will all be out in the open for everyone to examine, a public display of our entire existence. On trial in the midst of an immense amphitheater, the center of everyone’s focus for hundreds of years, no one will be there to cover for us, no one to blame but ourselves.

In looking toward that Day, the only reason we might be uncomfortable is if we’re evil, living in darkness. If we’re living in the light, seeking and following after truth, we’ve nothing to fear. (Jn 3:20-21)

We can ignore the words of Jesus and live our lives in secret, heedless of the coming Storm, as if we’ll never be discovered, and be ashamed before Him when He appears, or we can abide in God, continually and humbly asking Him to reveal our motives to us now, engaging spiritual community to help us live more and more according to His will, and be confident in that Day. (1Jn 2:28) If we’re walking with Him, we’ll have nothing to hide, and be bold on that day (1Jn 4:17)

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This Is Love

God’s first and great commandment is to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. (Mk 12:30) It’s the mark of every child of God: we love Him. (1Pe 2:7) As in most everything, definitions are critical; they’re particularly helpful here.

Love has many shades of meaning: loving ice cream, a county, a song, a painting, a grandfather, a spouse, a teenage crush … it’s all vastly different. What do we mean by loving God?

Perhaps we have an affection for Him, a sense of loyalty and appreciation, a fondness for Him and a passion to serve Him. This is essential in loving God, but is it sufficient? Can we feel this way about God and still not love Him?

God defines loving Him as obeying His commands (1Jn 5:3); if we aren’t obeying Him the best we know how we don’t yet know Him (1Jn 2:4), much less love Him (Jn 14:21), or anyone else. (2Jn 1:5-6) Apart from obedience to God’s Law, all sentiment and service is nothing. (Mt 7:22-23)

God’s commands are His testimonies, how He reveals Himself and expresses His nature. (Ps 119:18) The new man in every child of God delights in His Law (Ro 7:22), because God’s writing them on our hearts and into our minds. (He 10:16) We meditate on them (Ps 119:97) and rejoice in them (Ps 119:14), being quickened, energized (Ps 119:93) and enlightened through them (Ps 119:104); they’re profoundly priceless to us, our litmus test for everything. (Is 8:20)

It’s so easy to deceive ourselves here it’s frightening. (Je 17:9) Our old man hates God’s Law and can’t submit to it (Ro 8:7), so we tend to dismiss it as optional and make up our own way as we go, reinventing Jesus as we wish Him to be, an idol of our own device, and place our affection there.

Let’s prove ourselves the way God says (2Co 13:5), in the light of His commands (Ps 119:105), putting on Christ and asking Him to incline our hearts to His Way (Ps 119:36), so that when He appears we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him. (1Jn 2:28)

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