“If You love [M]e keep my [W]ord…” Lord Jesus
“Oh, How I love [T]hy [W]ord”… (The Psalms)
Every verse in Psalm 119 is dedicated to the Word of God, every single verse of the (176) one hundred and seventy-six verses that comprise that Psalm!!! Psalm 119 is almost the center of the (150) one hundred and fifty Psalms. Psalm 119 is the longest of all the Psalms, and the Book of Psalms is the middle or the heart of the Word of God. Entire books have been written on this Psalm.
Paul wrote that the Word of God was/is inspired by the God and is profitable in all areas of the Christ-ian life. Peter wrote that the Scriptures were penned by Holy men of old. Christ said that if a person loved Him they would keep His Words and if one was truly His disciple one would obey His words and His words are found only in the Scriptures. Therefore, to obey and to love Him one will be a lover of the Scriptures. A simple logical syllogism, I love The Lord Jesus; The Scriptures have the Words of The Lord Jesus; Therefore, I love the Scriptures because my Lord’s Words are found therein and I love His Words.
To love and to keep the Words of Christ is the litmus test of one’s love and affection for Him. To love and to keep His Words is the control if Christ-ianity were a scientific experiment. I suppose one could evaluate one’s love for Christ scientifically. One loves Christ, He will read and obey Christ’s Words and this can be and should be repeated as this is the scientific method. This is far more scientific as evolution, a science so-called. This means that if one says and does love Christ they will love and follow His Words. And negatively, if they love Him Not they will not love and keep His Words and commands, it really is that simple. Let me repeat myself, Reader, if you Love Christ, you will love and adhere to His Word(s) and if you do not love and adhere to His Word you simply do not love Him or your love has grown cold and or very weak. When a boy first “falls in love” with girl they speak on the phone a lot. If the boy or girl tires of the other the phone conversations will grow shorter and they will come farther apart and the discussions will turn cold.
Signs or proofs of ones love for Christ and His Word:
- You will read His Word…it’s that simple. If you fail to read His Word(s) you love Him not. When I receive a note from my wife I immediately open it and read it. If I receive a note or a card from a loved one I tear it open and read it. If I receive a bill or an advertisement I am not very quick in opening it because I do not love bills or advertisements and I know not the person that sent it. The same is true of a phone call. If I hear the phone ring and I see it is my wife, one of my children, my Mom, or a Pastor friend or a loved one I am quick to respond, if I do not recognize the number, I may not answer it at all. The same is true of God’s Word, how quick are you to read it? How quick are you to seek answers from it? Is The Word of God or prayer your first place of refuge or is doubt, confusion, or worry? This speaks the truth of your affection for Him.
- Your love is determined by your obedience to His Word. How quick are you to base your choices, decisions, and actions upon His Word? It’s that simple. How often is your response or your actions or reactions based upon His Word? How often do you ask yourself, “What would my Lord do, say, or act in this situation or under these circumstances? Children obey and honour their parents because they love them and trust them. They love and trust them because their words and counsels, their love and affections have been tried and proven numerous times.
- How do you treat His written Word? Do you leave it lying anywhere? Are you comfortable with it being on the floor? Do you leave it in your car until next Sunday? Do you have it within reaching distance? Is it okay to set a drink on it like it is a coaster? You might say, “Brian, it’s only represents God’s Word, I am showing it no disrespect by treating it this way.” Would you feel the same way if I set my drink upon a representative or picture of your beloved spouse or your child? I doubt it. Though the picture is only a representation of your loved one. The Bible is one of the only tangible things we have of our Lord. If your loved one has departed and the only thing you have left was a photo of that loved one, would you not keep that photo close? I think so.
One cannot separate the Lord Jesus from the written Word of God. They are similar in many ways. Both are called the Word of God, John 1, Revelation 19. Both are eternal. Both are the Communicators of God to man. Both have shed blood in Their/their history. Christ shed His Blood in the completing of His Holy Task as have the God-raised men that have died for the completing of the Written Word of God. Many have died in their obedience to Christ’s Word and will, as did Christ as He obeyed the Father’s will.
To speak clearly and plainly, You cannot love Christ without loving His Word(s). You cannot love Christ and His Word(s) without keeping them and holding to them. This is the proof and litmus test to your love to Him and for Him…it’s just that very simple…so simple.
How can you develop a greater love for Christ and His Word? There are (3) three ways.
- Reading/Studying them often and closely. How does one fall in love and decide to love another person? By spending time and interacting with a person. Falling in love and loving someone are (2) two completely different things. To fall in love speaks to the excitement one feels for another and the longing one has to see and to interact with another. This is due to a chemical reaction in the brain and this chemical reaction will eventually go away and this is why many persons divorce. Many divorce because they have “fallen out of love” and it is true they have. Love on the other hand is the choice to stand by a person through the thick and the thin, the good and the bad, the sickness and the health. It is a decision to live for another and to seek to make that person’s life better than it would be without you. It is to lay one’s life down for the living for another. This is true of Christ’s Word. The excitement of the new birth may not be the “high” it once was (it is for me) but one continues to be faithful to that love’s demands.
- Listening to it faithfully preached and taught by persons called to it’s preaching and teaching. One may keep one’s love for the Word by hearing another passionately and faithfully proclaim it. Philip found Nathaniel after he met The Lord Jesus, he told nathaniel all about Christ and Nathaniel went to meet this Man for himself. The Samaritans rushed to meet the Messiah after the Samaritan well woman ran and told them of Him. Faith, we are told, cometh by hearing the Word of God proclaimed. Love for the Word is contagious.
Church with all that it offers, singing, snacks, fellowship, ministry to children, etc. should still be primarily the place to hear and learn the Word of God. Though a Church may provide the above benefits, does it faithfully and passionately preach and teach the whole counsel of God? If it provides many benefits but is not passionate about the Word of God it is not a Church of God. If the Church is focused and built around God’s Word but does not have all the benefits it is still the Church of God. If you are the type of person that attends a Church because it has a great children’s ministry but you get nothing from the proclamation of Scripture you love not the Word.
- Proving the faithfulness and power of God’s Word: The faithfulness of God’s Word proves the faithfulness of God Himself. An example: I know a woman that attended a church. She was one of the most faithful and is still one of the most faithful and faithfilled Christ-ians I know. She is a true example of the believer, especially the beliver in trials. I would rather see (10) ten church members leave before seeing her leave. One day she approached me and told me that she was thinking about leaving. Her reason was due to her husband. He would not attend our Church but would begin attending IF she would leave us and attend a different Church. It was difficult but I counseled her to leave but first she should speak to the Pastor and being true to Scripture the Pastor also suggested that she leave and attend the other Church. It broke all (3) three of our hearts as well as many others to see her leave. Our thought were that her husband would eventually stop attending the other Church and she could return to us. We were wrong. After attending the Sunday services her husband wanted to attend the Wednesday services! Her husband is a different man. He even loves me now. The Scriptures proved true in this woman’s life.
My wife and I have been true to the Scripture’s instructions to be generous with our finances and we have never wanted for a thing. The Scriptures have been proven faithful time and time again. My trust and love for this Book is well cemented and to be otherwise would be spiritual adultery. Many times have I seen the Word prove itself in the lives of many.
Counsel for interacting and engaging with God through His written Word.
- Pray prior to reading and studying. Before a british lady meets the queen, she will practice her curtsy, she will prepare to engage and interact with her Queen. We should do no less. “God, please open thy word unto me.”
- Pray during your reading/studying of the Word. “Be ye holy for I am [H]oly.” Stop reading/studying, bow your head or look to Heaven and pray, “Let me, Lord, be holy as Thou art Holy. I desire to be holy in my emotions, thoughts, and in my actions. I want to be like my Elder Brother, and Thy Son, the Lord Jesus.” and then continue your interaction with the Word. When you come a cross a “Thou shalt not,” Stop and pray, “Lord, by Thy grace, help me not to feel this way, think this way, or act this way.” “If you love [M]e you will keep my commandments.” To this you could stop reading and pray, “Lord, I do love Thee, because of Thy Grace and my love for Thee I strive to obey Thee. But Lord, You know I fail in my striving so I pray Thee, and Thank Thee that Thou remembereth that I am dust. Please forgive me my trespasses and help me forgive others who trespass against me.”
- Pray after the reading/studying of God’s Word. Thank Him for the Word, His Faithfulness to His Word, and for the love you have for the Word. Thank Him that His Word is hidden in your heart and that it enables you to sin less and remain faithful to Him. As the saying goes, “The Word of God will keep you from Sin or sin will keep you from the Word.”
- Prayerfully Apply/prove the Word. After having interacted with the Word and Engaged the God of That Word, you should seek ways and opportunities to apply and prove what you have prayerfully read and prayerfully studied. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Apply this directive in your daily life. The others are the persons you have dealings with each day. If you show them respect they, in turn, will show you respect lest they be ignorant or uncivil. When you show kindness to others they will show kindness to you. If you are a loyal friend your friend should be loyal to you.
Having written all of the above we will end with what we started with. Your relationship, your respect, your love and adherance to Scripture is a direct reflection of your love and relationship with Christ, the respect in which you hold Him, and to what degree you obey Him and keep His Word(s)…so simple, How will you do on this test?