I have written about how we should fear God, fear meaning we should respect God, fear meaning we should take God seriously, fear meaning that we should do what He says in His Word. We should not want to displease our Maker.
I have written about how God’s rule over our lives is absolute; He wants all of us, not just measly partial commitment. He wants total commitment. He expects it.
But I have also written about God’s benevolence, His desire to have a personal relationship with us, His desire to live within us, to guide us through this life on a daily basis. He is not distant. He is there to help us. God cares about all of us.
Fear, absolute rule, and on top of that, benevolence, all good reasons to take God’s Word seriously.
Let’s throw another reason to obey God on the pile.
God’s Word is the Truth.
The Bible is full of references to God as Truth-Teller.
The Bible’s author is the “God of truth” [Psalms 31: 5, Isaiah 65: 16]. His Word is “abundant in truth”—“And the Lord passed by before Him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” [Exodus 34]. “His truth reacheth unto the clouds” [Psalms 108: 4]. James 17:17 says His “Word is truth.” Psalms 119: 160 declares “All Your Words are true” and Second Samuel 7:28 tells us “Thou art God, and thy Words are true.”
Why is this so important?
To answer this, J.I. Packer* pens a few important reasons: “stability, reliability, firmness, trustworthiness, self-consistent, sincere, realistic, and undeceived.” You might ask how do those words relate to us?
We all need a firm foundation for our lives. We need a firm foundation for our beliefs. We all need core values to live by.
Too often Christians are content to just say “I am a Christian.” I would venture to say that God wants more than that from us. Simply put, God wants us not only to say we are Christians, He wants us to “act” like Christians. In a study I am working on regarding prayer and faith, it is written that “shallow” Christian seems to be happy with just the label. To tell others “I am a Christian” is enough. Another thing Christians love to say is “I have faith.” Saying I have faith seems to be enough because the shallow Christian is happy to just say “I have it.” Author W. Bingham Hunter** writes that “Many people feel that it doesn’t matter so much what they believe as that they believe.”
The problem goes back to the “c” word above. God wants total commitment. He wants us to not only tell others we believe in Him, He wants us to ACT like we believe in Him. To do that, God wants us to try to act on His truth. God wants us to try to live in the light of His Word. God wants us to try to order our hearts according to the truth He give us in the Bible. To not try is to live the life of a hypocrite.
Living the best Christian life we can is based on truth. Truth is God’s nature. He wants to show us things as they really are and He wants us to heed His Word.
John Ortberg*** is an author who has a way of explaining how too many of us act. His writing is truthful in that it exposes our weakness regarding our ability to obey God. He talks about public convictions. Those are beliefs we have and we want others to see that we have them. We may not really believe them but they “look good.” If people see us displaying Godly public convictions, they might think we are true followers [maybe in reality we are not]. Private convictions are beliefs we “think” we have. I write the word think because private convictions are flexible. Depending on the introduction of additional strong factual information, we may change our private convictions. Depending on whom we spend time with; we may change our private convictions. You see, the desire to fit in with others in our social group can really take a toll on our belief system.
Then you have core convictions.
Ortberg describes core convictions as the rock solid beliefs that really matter. Not only do we believe in them in a stable, reliable, firm way, we act on them. God is trying to give us the basis of our core convictions in His Word. God is trying to give us a firm foundation for our lives. He wants us not only to tell others we are Christians, He wants us to show others we are Christians by our actions. Our core beliefs should be based on the truth that we find in God’s Word.
We all know how it is in the world. We are all there; we are all “in the world.” The power of sin over us is very strong. Too often we spend time in the darkness of sin when God is asking us to bask in His light.
Romans 6:23 tells us “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It all boils down to the ideas that we should respect God, we should commit our lives to Him, we should let Him guide us through life.
We should do this because He loves us.
He loves us so much He has given us the truth, which we can find in His Word.
*J.I. Packer Knowing God
**W. Bingham Hunter The God Who Hears
***John Ortberg Faith and Doubt