Laws To Live By
Today’s reflection is a continuation of yesterday’s. This time we are looking at it through the words of John’s first letter, but it is the same Spirit with the same message as in the account we looked at in Luke’s gospel yesterday. Here the question is, “How will I know if I have come to know God?” The answer is, I will be able to say I know God if I keep his commandments.” (verse 3)
It is one thing to say that we know God. That is easy. But if we say this, but do not obey his commandments, then there is not truth in us. This would mark us as followers of the Prince of Lies, rather than the Prince of Peace. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John is very clear here. “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. You see, the truth is simple. It is just that living it in this world is not. Again, we have Jesus as our guide.
This is exactly what Jesus did. He knew God and he kept his commandments, perfectly. Because he did, he was harassed by those who claimed to know God, but were guilty of not living his commandments. Though the Pharisees were intellectually trained, steeped in the Hebrew scriptures, they were hypocrites when it came to living in accord with the word of God that they preached and taught. Jesus’ goodness was a source of embarrassment and frustration to them. The fact that Jesus’ actions were consistent with his words revealed their hypocrisy and made them feel uncomfortable at first, then jealous, then angry, then murderous in their efforts to be rid of him. It was eminently clear that Jesus “knew God” because he obeyed the word of God in everything he did. Because of this, Jesus revealed the true nature of God to those who heard his teachings and observed his behavior.
Another example is Paul. In reading Paul’s letters we see what happened to Paul for knowing God and obeying his commandments. He endured many sufferings during his missionary times and was ultimately martyred for his obvious faith. He demonstrated his faith with his life, which directly challenged the cultural and social environments of his own time. In choosing daily to know God and to keep his commandments, we too may find ourselves with enemies. But in keeping his commandments we will play our small part in shining God’s light on those who still dwell in darkness, and there will be many blessings and graces in this. In doing this, we will be honoring our duty to keep God’s act of salvation present in the world today where it is still so desperately needed. In keeping God’s commandments, we will continue to show the light of Christ in this so often darkened world. It is better to light just one candle than to curse the darkness. That is what we do when we know God and keep his commandments.
It is difficult to live out your commandments in the world, Lord. But it is our deepest desire to do so out of our love for you. Grace us with strength and courage, Lord. We want to be your good and faithful servants bearing the light of your truth in this wounded world through our humble obedience to your loving word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
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