Keep My Commandments!

Greetings! This week’s commandment is to Keep My Commandments. Now, this is certainly relevant for a weekly e-mail about the commands of Christ! Jesus said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). When I had read this before, I had thought that it meant that we must OBEY God’s commands. While we are called to obey His Word, this command is specifically talking about ‘keeping’ them. The word ‘keep’ means to guard (from loss or injury, keeping the eye upon); to observe, to give heed to, to watch over. This is the same word that was used for the jailer who was to watch over Paul and Silas in prison. His duty to ‘keep’ his prisoners was so important that when he failed, he immediately thought to take his own life.
This past week our relatives visited from California and we decided to surprise them and meet them at the airport. We were early according to the arrival screen so we walked around a little before waiting at the gate. Group after group came around the corner and we kept saying, “Oh there they are! Oh I see Auntie Carol!,” but it was always someone else. We didn’t take our eyes off of the gate for half an hour waiting expectantly to see them. Finally, we got word from my sister that they had already arrived awhile ago. Their flight had been early and we missed them by about 5 minutes! We immediately called them and they were already on their way to their hotel! We laughed about how we were standing there looking diligently for them to come, even though they were never coming! Our alert watching reminds me of what it means to ‘keep’ or ‘watch over.’ We were expectantly looking and all our energy was going towards watching for them. We should be investing the same energy into ‘keeping’ God’s commands.
This word ‘keep’ gives the idea that what you are watching over is very important. We were not excited to surprise every passenger that came off the plane, but were waiting for our relatives who are important to us. It is not the same as watching some house plant you have to tend to, but it is something that is so valuable that you are willing to invest all your energies to keep your eye on it. Is not the Word of God the most precious and valuable thing we have? Should not His commands be a treasure to us and the apple of our eyes? In Matthew we read that, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew6:21). If we see God’s Word as a treasure, then we will keep it before our eyes, and where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. Meaning, that the command to ‘keep My commandments’ is a command to have a heart that longs for His Words.
At first I wondered why these passages kept using the word ‘keep’ and not ‘obey’. It came to my mind that sometimes I obey God outwardly, but I do not really know God’s Word and the spirit behind it. I know how I should act and I often inadvertently follow His commands, but they are not continually before my heart. If I saw God’s Word as a treasure, then I would be motivated to obey out of love, not just obeying, because that is the civilized thing to do. God doesn’t just want apathetic obedience—that is what the Pharisees did. God wants His children to LOVE His commands and to treasure them. If we have a heart for God’s Word, obedience will be a delight, not drudgery. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:6-8).
Well how do we ‘guard’ God’s commandments and ‘observe’ His statutes? If we want to have them continually before our eyes, then we need to always be carrying around our Bible. However, God gave us a memory, which allows us to hide His Word in our hearts. So whether we are walking, lying down, rising up, or doing our daily tasks, we can have the Word before us. Parents’ and grandparents’ wallets are often filled with pictures of their children or grandchildren, not their bosses, accountant, or Pastor. They carry these, because these people are a treasure to them. Let us carry around God’s Word in our hearts and think on these commands. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

-What Scripture have you memorized and meditated on?
-What commands have you internalized so that they become a part of your life?
-Do you treasure God’s Word above all things?
“He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and manifest Myself unto him” (John 14:21).
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).

Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

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