Do you really LOVE Jesus?
If so, Jesus himself says to you as the year draws near to a close:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Many of us want to live our own way. And so to hear that someone else wants to tell us how to live may challenge our sense of independence and self-determination.
But everyone serves a master. The only question is who is yours?
What if your master loved you so much that He died for you?
Please do not conclude that obeying Jesus is an impossible demand.
On the contrary, Jesus commands the impossible and then does it in us. He writes the commands onto the renewed hearts he gives us.
And we are welcomed into his loving arms like the prodigal was received by his father on his return. Jesus offers us peace, joy, hope, and a sense of purpose that world simply has no clue about:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have spent the whole of 2018 with a key focus in my mind as much as my health journey with a blood cancer has allowed. A single goal. Which I expressed at the beginning of the 2018 as my only New Year’s Resolution:
To look more closely at the commands of Jesus. And to learn to obey them.
I cannot think of a better resolution to continue into 2019 with. And thanks to the glorious grace-filled message of these particular commands, I can come back to him once again and look forward with hope. I may have failed him many times this past year. But he has never failed me. And his ways are the best for me. And the more I know him, the more my life will improve, and the better person I become.
I am working my way slowly through these commands for one reason: because I want to understand better what it is Jesus wants of me, and to try to follow his commandments through the strength he gives me. And the free forgiveness he offers me even when I blatantly disobey him and let anger, self pity, or fear lead me into wrong pathways.
Jesus commmands how we should think, feel, and act. He tells us how we are to relate to others. In short he wants our whole lives. But he gave his whole life for us in order that we might have life and have it to the full.
And in 2018 my testimony is indeed that learning to establish my life on this sure foundation has helped me so much this year when the storms have come. And they really have come at times. I have been shaken, but not destroyed.
If you haven’t been following along with the Jesus Commands series to date, this article is a great place to start.
This is an introduction written after the others I have written all year, or a summary offering a taster for the main content which you will find linked below.
Over the weekend I hope to share an update with you on my health progress, but suffice it for now to say that I trust and pray that I will be able to take up writing again and add to this series early in 2019.
The commandments of Jesus can be classified into four main groups.
- Those concerning our relationship with God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- Those concerning prayer (which build practically on the foundation of the first group)
- Those concerning our emotions and thoughts
- Those concerning our behaviour ie how we treat others, which we can summarise as our relationships.
Although we haven’t looked at the commands of Jesus concerning prayer yet, we have covered all of the foundational commandments governing our relationship with Him.
There is no question that the commandments we have looked at so far are the most challenging, and are the reason for us obeying all the remaining commands and the source of our ability to do so.
There is a clear priority in these commandments. The ones we have looked at this year come first. If we try to simply skip to the ones about our behaviour, and how we should treat others, then we will fail miserably.
We will never understand the reason Jesus commands us to treat others in the way he does, until we have first got our relationship with Him right.
Terry Virgo recently tweeted “Don’t settle for mere outward conformity. Jesus wants a heart relationship where we believe his promises, learn obedience & embrace discipline.”
Billy Graham, who passed away earlier this year, once wrote an article about becoming a spiritually mature Christian. He effectively said the same thing in a different way:
“What, however, is spiritual maturity? To put it another way, what exactly does God want to do in our lives as we journey along His path? The Bible gives us the answer: God’s will is for us to become more and more like Christ. It is that simple—and also that complex.
From all eternity, the Bible says, God’s plan was for us “to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29). We are part of His family—and because of that we should bear His likeness! This is spiritual maturity, and if you make this your goal, it will change your life . . .
How do we become more like Christ? How does it happen? It happens as we submit every area of our lives to His authority. Nothing must be excluded from His influence, and nothing must be withheld from His control. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). John the Baptist declared, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Is this your goal?” Billy Graham, Heading in the Right Direction
If you want to become more Christ-like, learning to follow these commands and the others we will look at together as the year progresses, is the secret. In fact, I would not be surprised if this study takes us longer than just this year. In this post I have gathered a link to my articles on each of these commandments concerning our relationship with Jesus, and there is also one Bible verse associated with each below:
Ten Commandments of Jesus about our relationship with God
- Be Born Again
- Repent and Believe
- “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘. . . repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)
- See also “All things are possible for one who believes” and All the Hell You Shall Ever Have!
- Come to Me
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
- See also Professionalism vs. Compassion and Who will you visit this weekend?
- Listen to My Voice
- “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
- See also Slow Down to Meet God and Jesus’ Gospel of Social Justice
- Abide in Me
- Follow Me
- Love Me
- “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God” (John 8:42).
- See also Truth and Love and Loving God A Sermon by Tope Koleoso
- Worship Me
- Trust and Fear Me
- Receive the Holy Spirit
- ““If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39)
- See also Can a Christian Lose Salvation? and Establishing a Firm Foundation in Your Life
I hope you will enjoy reading these articles, and ask you to pray for me that I will have the strength I need to continue the task which is not just to write, but to be discipled by these commands. I want 2019 to be a year that I emerge a restored man. Not just in terms of at least some measure of physical healing, but with my life more firmly built on this rock of following Jesus.
Love Jesus and obey him. He loves you and died for you. How will he also not give you all that is truly good for you in 2019?
Still to come in the rest of this series:
- Commandments of Jesus about prayer
- Commandments of Jesus about our emotions
- Commandments of Jesus about our behaviour
Don’t miss the rest of this series on The Commands of Jesus,
Jesus said that if you obey him your life will be established on a firm foundation when the storms come.
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