Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 11 Competition Or Commitment?
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
In Deuteronomy chapter 6 God gives one of the most profound lessons on generational faith in all of scripture. And in this discourse on faith and family, God reveals the secret of passing on the heritage of “Truth”. In fact Jesus Himself, quoted from this passage during His earthly ministry, in response to a question meant to trap Him:
“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40
Deuteronomy gives us an important principle of life; we can’t share what we don’t have. This proves true in spiritual things as well as the financial arena. We can only share what we personally possess! The chapter opens with a call to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart”, and that is where we always must begin. We must personally love the Lord, coming to Him in repentance and faith. Only when we know God through His Son Jesus Christ, and the atoning, substitutionary (taking my place) sacrifice that He made for the sin of the world, can we “know” God. For only when we know Him and His Son, can we share with others the love and life-changing power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
But the chapter goes on to show us the order of life—we receive from God and only then can we share what we have received with others in need, starting at home:
“And these words, which I command thee this day,
shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them
diligently unto thy children,
and shalt talk of them
when thou sittest in thine house,
and when thou walkest by the way,
and when thou liest down,
and when thou risest up.
8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign
upon thine hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
9 And thou shalt write them
upon the posts of thy house,
and on thy gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Simply put, God reveals that we must know Him in our own heart first, then, and only then, can we teach our children, (or any one else) and God tells us how to share. We must not only know the God we profess but also live our faith out each and every day, all along the way: when we’re sitting around, when we’re walking about, when we’re resting, and when we’re rising up. We are also to have the things of God around us—in our homes and surroundings! What we have in our homes almost always reflects what we love—be it things of God, or the things of the world. Is my home full of ungodly material? What we are reading, watching, talking about, and listening to, will affect our lives and our influence. In the vernacular, “what goes in, comes out”; “junk in, junk out”! What does my home say about my heart? What is hanging on my walls, what reading matter is lying around on my tables and racks? What do we watch on TV in my home? What movies am I drawn to, and/or play on my devices? What is displayed on my social media outlets? Do people—especially my own children and grandchildren—see Jesus when they come into my “space”, wherever that may be? Only you can answer that question, but it needs to be answered. When people enter your home does the peace of God pervade their hearts and minds or the smut of the world?
God goes on in chapter 6 of Deuteronomy to tell us that if we “live” this life of faith and holiness (Holy Spirit controlled Holiness, not self-righteous arrogance), the time will come that our children will ask “why” we “live” our lives the way we “live” them? And God gives a most unusual answer; He doesn’t tell them to quote the 10 commandments, or to give the Roman Road to Salvation, or even to preach “holiness” to them; what God tells us is:
“And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? 21 Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: 22 And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: 23 And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. 25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” Deuteronomy 6:20-25
If you allow me to paraphrase a bit, God tells us that when we live a life of obedient faithfulness, it will be noticed by our children and grandchildren! We are to teach them, talk to them, instruct them, but most importantly we are to manifest godliness in “all” we do in our lives—a high standard, but one God tells us is the right one to strive for.
God tells us that the day will come that our children will see the difference between our lives and the lives of those of the world, and at some point in time, they will ask “why” we are living the way we live. They will want to know “why” we are teaching them to honor God, by our lives as well as our words and instructions. And when they ask, God doesn’t give us a “pat” answer like “because I said so” (which believe me, I used way more often than I should have), but God instructs us as parents to share with them our personal testimony of our own experience with God. For Israel, that was their deliverance from Egypt and the entry into the Promised Land; for us it’s whatever God has done for us and wherever He has taken us when we came to Him through the blood of the Lamb!!! And as we share with them what God has done “for” us we are to let them know what God has said in His Word and how God will provide for all those who will come to Him.
It is imperative that we live lives committed to our God and serve Him faithfully so that He can show His awesome power, grace and love to all within our circle of influence. We aren’t in competition with the world, or even with other Christians, although much of popular “churchianity” tries to pit one group against another. Jesus called us to follow Him, not the world, nor even other Christians, regardless of their good sounding words or intentions. We are called to one task:
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples,
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross,
and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake
shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited,
if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul?
or what shall a man give
in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come
in the glory of his Father
with his angels;
and then he shall reward
according to his works.” Matthew 16:24-27
It’s all about being committed to following Jesus not competing with your family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, and for sure not the world. Yet we live in a culture that has invited the “Super Bowl” mentality into the church, into our spiritual lives to the harm of many souls and the kingdom work of God. God has called us to live this life with a “contrite” heart not a competitive one.
Now I am a relatively competitive person myself, but I have learned, and am still learning, that the greatest thing I can do for God’s kingdom is to spend time with my Lord and seek to follow Him through intimate fellowship and communion with Him and His Word! I’m not working for the recognition of the world but the reward of hearing my Lord say, “….Well done, thou good and faithful servant…..” (See Matthew25:21). My Lord, Savior, and Master is Jesus, not man!!! My obedience and faithfulness will be measured by Him and His Word not people—saved or lost!!! My reward will be determined by my King, and He is the one who knows my heart, and the true measure of my obedience—no one else!!!
“He that receiveth you
and he that receiveth me
receiveth him that sent me.
41 He that receiveth a prophet
in the name of a prophet
shall receive a prophet’s reward;
and he that receiveth a righteous man
in the name of a righteous man
shall receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink
unto one of these little ones
a cup of cold water
only in the name of a disciple,
verily I say unto you,
he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Matthew 10:40-42
So in conclusion, my simple question to you is, “Are you committing your whole life to Jesus?” Or are you trying to be in competition with a world that hates The One that born again believers love. Jesus warned us that when we follow Him it wouldn’t generally be appreciated by the masses. We forget so easily that we are “pilgrims” passing through this world; that our citizenship is in heaven, and our allegiance is to our Savior, KING JESUS, but remember my friends that there is a cost attached. Count the cost; it’s worth the price!!!
“Henceforth I call you not servants;
for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth:
but I have called you friends;
for all things that I have heard of my Father
I have made known unto you.
16 Ye have not chosen me,
but I have chosen you,
and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit,
and that your fruit should remain:
that whatsoever ye shall ask
of the Father
in my name,
he may give it you.
17 These things I command you,
that ye love one another.
18 If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me
before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world,
the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you,
The servant is not greater than his lord.
If they have persecuted me,
they will also persecute you;
if they have kept my saying,
they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do
for my name’s sake,
because they know not him
that sent me.
22 If I had not come and spoken unto them,
they had not had sin:
but now they have no cloak for their sin.
23 He that hateth me
hateth my Father also.” John 15:15-23
Whose team are you on? Count the cost—but remember it’s a labor of love, NOT a competition!!!