by Dave Miller #DNASeries
I am with you always, even to the end of the age. - Jesus
The people of God are defined by the presence of God. Whether it be Adam and Eve walking in the cool of the day with the Father, Abraham speaking to God under the oaks, Moses meeting with him in the tent, His people encircling the tabernacle where the cloud of Glory stood tall among them, or the disciples walking with Jesus laughing, eating, and learning, God’s people know God’s presence.
Jesus leads his church by way of his Word and his Spirit. Through the scriptures and in the Spirit we walk with Jesus, follow Jesus, and know Jesus. This pattern of following Jesus by His Spirit is a cultivated habit and a necessarily practiced discipline. We are not left however, to figure the way on our own. Our Lord modeled by his life and commanded by his authority the habits of participating in his presence through His Spirit.
The commands of Christ train and keep us participating in the presence of the Father and his Son Jesus Christ through the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Simply put, Jesus’ commands are his guide to knowing and following Him in a world full of competing influences. Following the commands of Christ demonstrates our trust not only in Jesus, but in His ways of cultivating a relationship with us.
The Pharisees did not understand this.
Mark tells us that one Sabbath day the disciples were walking with Jesus through a wheat field picking grain and eating a snack as they went. Appalled the disciples would work on the Sabbath and that the so-called Messiah would allow them the religious leaders asked, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read what David and those who were with him did when he was in need and hungry—how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest and ate the bread of the Presence—which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests—and also gave some to his companions?”
Then Jesus told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. So then, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:23-28).
The religious leaders were right. The law said not to work on the Sabbath. The point of the law was to participate in the presence of God without the distraction of work one full day a week. God’s people needed to practice God’s commands to participate in God’s presence. Yet, in keeping the commands the religious leaders exchanged the presence for the process. The method become the point instead of the means to the Presence of their God.
We can treat the commands of Christ the exact same way. We can even see the commands passed for multiple generations as disciples reproduce the method. Yet, in the midst of the biblical commands of Christ we can miss the point, the presence of God in the Spirit of Jesus.
We do not repent and believe to obey Jesus. We obey Jesus by repenting of actions that erect walls of doubt moving us away from knowing his presence and by believing the promises and following the commands that move us into knowing His presence.
We baptize and are baptized to identify with Jesus, declaring allegiance to the Lord as one upon whom the Spirit has descended and in whom the Father is well pleased.
We make disciples to spread the Glory we love and the relationship we have with our Lord to the ends of the earth, so that our joy may be complete as we declare the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
We pray to commune with the living breathing Jesus of Nazareth who sustains us by the Word of His power.
You see, the commands of Christ are not a burdensome yoke, but an easy one. They are the practices that keep us walking in the holy place by the blood of Jesus Christ, the presence of our God. Practice the commands of Christ, not as an end, but as a means to know Jesus, to fellowship with him in his sufferings and to know the power of His resurrection. Because to live is Christ.
Remember the words of the beloved disciple John:
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:3-6).
Until there’s #NoPlaceLeft...