Deuteronomy 10:12-13 And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?
This of course brings to mind the simplified version that God spoke through the prophet Micah: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) We get all tied in knots over what we are to do. That’s hardly surprising, because we can’t keep it straight on our own. If we indeed fear God, that is, recognize Him for the omnipotent, perfectly holy Creator that He is, then we will conversely love Him and walk as He shows us to. We will recognize that His commands are not to bind us but to protect us, and we will be grateful for them rather than resent them. The catch is that we are human! We are all too prone to ignore God and chase after all the glittery things the world and the devil dangle in front of us. One of the many attractions of heaven is that all those distractions will be gone. In this world we find ourselves in Romans 7 all too often, doing things we really don’t want to do and failing to do things we really do want to do, even though we know those latter things will bring blessing because they are God’s will for us. It all comes back to fearing God and loving Him, and then living our lives according to that.
This certainly applies to me. Raised in such a thoroughly Christian home, my danger is in taking God for granted. Even when I have done things that I knew were not pleasing to Him, I have known that He was aware of every detail. What foolishness! That is clearly acting against my own best interests. At the same time, that should give me empathy for those to whom I minister, knowing that I am as human as they are, and that God’s grace is as available to them as it is to me. We are on this world to discover God, to respond to Him, and to lead others to do likewise. That sums it all up, because any human achievement pales to nothing in the light of God’s glory. We will be judged not on the basis of our achievements, but on the basis of our faithfulness. I am at the point in life when I am thinking about my legacy, wondering what I have accomplished and how I will be remembered. That means nothing at all, if I am thinking about what other people might think of me. What matters is whether my Lord will indeed say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)
Father, thank You for this reminder. Recently it has seemed like there is no end to the blessings You are pouring out on me – which is appropriate, because there is indeed no end to You! Thank You for how well my school classes are going this term, for the pleasure of the vegetable garden, for the sweet fellowship during and after the church service yesterday. The list goes on and on! I ask You to protect me from the distractions, both the “glittery” things and the painful things, to focus fully on You in grateful, loving obedience, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!