|“But if anyone obeys his word, love for |
God is truly made complete in them.”
|—1 John 2:5|
Have you ever worked in a situation where your instant and unquestioning response to a direct order spared your life? Some of those situations involve safety on a hazardous job site. We find others in the military, or various para-military organizations, like the fire service or law enforcement.
In 1967, the fire department where I served received a call just past midnight to respond to a fully involved barn fire about three miles from our fire house. Our department required the firefighters to first report to the fire house, don their protective equipment, mount the apparatus, and then respond to the location of the fire. This meant that once reaching the scene of the fire, our crews were always ready to go into immediate action with their full protective gear already in place.
On this particular night, we arrived at the farm and found that the barn was, indeed, fully involved in fire. The three-story tall structure had fire showing from every opening. As one of our engine company crews advanced a 2-1/2-inch line to begin an exterior fire attack, suddenly the chief radioed for the crew leader to stop the advance. Responding to his years of training, the crew leader immediately halted the forward movement of his crew.
Almost instantaneously, the main side wall of the barn came crashing to the ground, landing just a few feet in front of where the crew stood. Had the crew leader not immediately obeyed the order from the chief, several firefighters would have been seriously injured, or even killed.
Obedience brings completion—that’s the topic for today. Said in more detail: “Obedience to the instructions of our Savior, brings completeness to the life of a believer.”
When we read some instruction in God’s written Word, the Bible, in the context of the New Testament life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is important that we obey what God commands. Every single instruction is for our benefit. Failure to do what God instructs will place us in danger. We will not experience completeness until we first learn obedience.
Sadly, too many religious leaders of our day have followed a pattern of explaining away some of the clearest teachings of our God. They don’t like what they perceive to be the directness, even harshness, of certain commands. So, they attempt to teach that we really don’t understand what the Scripture means.
For example, some place an emphasis only on the loving and accepting nature of Jesus. In so doing, they seem to want to put aside, or deny, that God is holy.
It would be far better if those individuals who are uncomfortable with teachings they don’t like would simply accept the fact that God expects us to live lives that are in tension. Just as a tightrope walker depends on the tension of the tightrope, so we Christians must live in a healthy tension regarding the nature of God. Yes, God is loving, caring, merciful, and gracious. But, He is also a holy God and demands holiness from those who follow Him. Those two qualities, or attributes, of God are often in tension.
Speaking of Jesus, the Apostle John makes this claim, as found in 1 John 2:1-6:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
During the course of this new day, let’s work toward living in the tension of obedience to all the teachings of our God. When He demands holiness, let’s obediently work toward holiness. When He demands love, acceptance, mercy, and grace, let’s obediently work toward all of those sterling qualities, as well.
If we do this, we will become complete in Him. And that, dear ones, is exactly the place where we should reside.