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God wants us to obey precisely because it is what is best for us.

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1“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus…” My commute consisted of chanting this with my daughter on the way to school today. She has to learn the books of the Old Testament for Awana, and I’ve loved watching her learn verses by heart through this program. I find myself wishing for more than that for her though. My longing is that she doesn’t just learn to rattle off a verse, but that she learns to live each verse.

Just like Awana memory devices, the Shema is designed to help people hear, teach, and remember the commands of God. The people of Israel would recite this daily. The question is, why? Why was it so important for the people to remember Gods commands? The first three verses of chapter 6 tell us why. God wanted them to obey the commands. That sounds elementary, but is it really? How many good things do we know about and never put into action? I know all the benefits of eating healthy and budgeting but I struggle to do them. Acknowledging things that are good to do doesn’t mean we actually do them. God wanted more for his people like I want more for my daughter. He wants more than knowing the right things, he wants us to do the right thing. So the next question is why should we obey? Why should we DO?

I have often thought of the promises of God as a transaction. If I put in a bit of obedience, God shells out a bit of goodness toward me. It’s easy to think this way because we live in such a transactional world. That is not the nature of scriptures promises though. Obedience isn’t the payment for promise. It’s the vehicle of promise. If we get the impression God needs us to obey so his plan can unfold then we miss the point of his commands and we misunderstand the power of God. God wants us to obey precisely because it is what is best for us. We’re designed to do the things he commands and when we don’t, life feels misaligned. God’s commands are the best way to live. Don’t hear me say they’re the easiest way to live. Exercising is much harder than sitting on the couch but it’s a better way to live.

God made us in such a way as to thrive on the kind of actions he commands for us to do. A failure to apply God’s word to our lives is a failure to live the way we’re made to live. If you’ve ever felt like Christianity wasn’t working the way you expected or like God was silent or like there was something more to faith then what you have, this could be part of the issue. Learning the words “love the Lord your God” are useless unless we love the Lord our God. Take some time to evaluate the posture of your soul toward God’s word. Do you approach scripture or a sermon or a Bible study with a disposition to obey what you learn? Try praying this prayer and asking God to help you live out the knowledge you have already.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Aaron Bjorklund

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