We have a New Covenant, which includes all the blessings of the Old Covenant.
Under the Old Covenant, the people of Israel had a long list of commandments that they needed to obey. You could view these commandments as God’s instruction manual for how to avoid the Curse and stay in the Blessing. The problem, was that even when the Israelites were not completing ignoring God and going their own way (which they did a fair bit), they still kept getting things wrong. Keeping the Law was a balancing act and the children of Israel keep falling off – in other words, they kept breaking the commandments. Today, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, we do not have to follow all the commandments of the Old Covenant (see ‘Do We Still Need The Ten Commandments?‘). We have a New Covenant, which includes all the blessings of the Old Covenant but which, according to Hebrews 8:6, was founded on better promises.
God has simplified things for us.
We are not under the old Jewish Law that was given through Moses, although some of that Law does still apply. God is never going to say that it’s OK to steal, or it’s OK to lie, or it’s OK to murder. Those sort of things are never going to be permissible. They are what are known as moral laws. Other things come under the category of ceremonial laws – these we are not subject to. God is not expecting you to read through everything that Moses wrote from Exodus to Deuteronomy, trying to figure out which laws apply and which don’t (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be reading it though). Instead, God has simplified things for us. Jesus said in John 13:34 in the New Living Translation, ” I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other“. That’s it – simple! That’s the only commandment we have to follow; because if we love each other, we will fulfill all of the other moral commandments. For example, you are not going to steal from someone if you love them. In fact, you are not going to do anything to hurt someone that you genuinely love – which means loving them as Jesus loves them.
This is almost certainly the biggest area where Christians fail.
In Deuteronomy 28 Israel was promised blessing upon blessing, if they kept the commandments. We can also have all these blessings, the difference is that we only have one commandment to think about – the commandment to love each other and in so doing, we will automatically keep whatever other commandments are necessary, without even thinking about it (in fact God’s blessing are no longer dependent on what we do, now it is all about God’s grace – but that’s another subject). It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? So why is it then, that walking in love is almost certainly the biggest area where Christians fail?
- “But I just can’t forgive them.“
- “I’m trying to be nice, but they really get on my nerves.“
- “Of course I’m angry, look what he just did.“
- “I’m doing my best, God understands my heart.“
- “When they accept that I’m right, then I’ll stop arguing.“
Every time you get into strife, you are opening to the door to confusion and every evil work.
The list could go on and on. So what is the problem? Why do Christians find walking in love so difficult? It is because the devil knows the power that walking in love brings. He knows that you will never experience the fullness of God’s plan for your life, if you do not walk in love on a consistent basis. He knows that every time you get into strife you are opening to the door to “confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16). Therefore the moment that you decide that you are going to try to be a more loving person, the devil will begin to work overtime to make sure that you do not walk in love for very long.
Do or do not, there is no try.
The issue is that we are trying to walk in love. Jesus did not say that we should try to love one another as much as possible. He said that we should love one another, as He loved us. It was not just good advice, it was a command. Jesus knew how difficult we would find it to try to walk in love. That is why He didn’t say to try, He commanded us to do. As someone wise once said, “Do or do not, there is no try“. If Jesus is truly the Lord of our lives, this is not something that we have an option about. We must love each other, whether we like it or not. We must love that person that cuts us up when we’re driving; we must love that person who is always nasty to us; we must love those rude, obnoxious people; we must love everyone – because Jesus commanded us to do so.
Every time we mess up, we simply repent and get back to obeying the command of love.
We need to receive the command to love each other as just what it is, a command. Then the devil will find it much harder to get us out of love. Sure, we may mess up numerous times initially, but every time we mess up, we simply repent and get back to obeying the command of love. Over time, it will become ingrained in us and we will obey it without giving it a second thought. Situations will arise, which in the past would have caused anger, resentment, cutting remarks, offense, or whatever; but we will react in love. We will do so, because obeying God is our top priority and because we have allowed His love (which is already in us) to become a part of who we are.
We have to view what Jesus said as a command, about which we have no choice.
There are other things that we can do, to help us to walk in love, but the most important thing is to acknowledge that loving one another is a command, not a guideline. So what else can we do to assist us with making less and less mistakes in this area? Well, we can regularly read 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, inserting our name in the place of ‘love’ or ‘charity’. We can read 1 John and Ephesians 4 on a regular basis. This will all help us to perfect the love walk. But unless we are viewing what Jesus said as a command, about which we have no choice, anything else we do to assist us will have limited effect. Make the decision now to obey what Jesus said.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.