“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
John 14: 1
Jesus never beats around the bush. Do you love him? Then you will keep his commandments. Simple…
Simple, yes; easy, no.
I think one word that has caused problems for people is ‘try.’ We think that ‘try’ is almost the real thing. I tried to do the right thing. I tried to lose weight. I tried to be nice to my neighbor. I tried to get the assignment done. I tried to be faithful to my wife. However, ‘try’ usually means that we did not do what we set out to do. So it is our excuse for failure. How do you think it well help if you tell your neighbor that you tried not to hit his dog as you backed out of the driveway? I am sure that it would be an even greater comfort if you told him that you tried not to have an affair with his wife – as if trying (and failing) was somehow virtuous.
Let’s just simplify our lives. Maybe saying that we tried to do something makes us feel better about ourselves, but it does not get us any closer to actually doing what we need to do. When we do not obey our wonderful Savior, we need to drop all of our excuses. Saying we tried seems less – well – sinful. But it isn’t.
I know it sounds harsh; but Jesus never tells us to try to obey him. We obey him or we do not. It really is that simple.
Jesus is our First Love or he is not. If we love anything more than him, then we have disobeyed his commandment “to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.” We either obey God or we do not.
While we pursue righteousness and holiness in Christ and seek to be more like him, we must not let ourselves be content with half-hearted efforts.
In the movie “Amazing Grace” John Newton said that he knew only two things – that he was a great sinner and that Jesus Christ was a great savior.
Let’s not be lulled into the carelessness of ‘trying.’
And when we fail to do it, remember that we have a Great Savior – a Savior whose forgiveness is full and free.
So, we pick ourselves back up again (and again and probably again) and bow our heads and say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
…and press on.