“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.”
Mark 12:28-34 NKJV
I have found that most Christians here in American do not read their bibles very closely, preferring to skim through passages just to fulfill some obligation. In the surface reading of the Scriptures, there is little time or opportunity for the reader to have the Scripture making meaningful contact with their hearts.
We live a world where there are a multitude to things vying for our attention, and also vying for a place in our hearts. If the Scriptures are only given a glancing blow at our souls, then there is little potential for life change and even less to develop a love for God.
Reading Mark chapter twelve, the scribe who approached the Lord had obviously taken the time, as he worked on the scrolls, to actually for over them. He was not making contact with the word of God as his vocation, but was taking what he read to heart. Those who observed this interactions heard the dialogue. I suspect they were under conviction.
We are a busy people today, running to and from, filling our schedules in the mistaken idea that we must be about doing something. Even pastors, those men commissioned by the Lord to lead flocks to a deeper understanding of God’s word, themselves have been sometimes guilty of not spending enough time in the word.
They approach the Scriptures vocationally, enough to prepare a lesson or sermon, but not enough to allow the Lord to work on their hearts. As a result many of us do not have that passionate love for the Lord. With merely a passing, lukewarm love for the Lord, we have even less desire for His word.
When I consider those who contended with Jesus, the chief priests, scribes and the elders, I see men who had lost the love for God, who no longer loved with all of their hearts, with all their souls, with all their minds, and with all their strength. The word had become but a user manual, a point of reference for which they had received their certification and nothing more. They had gone after their own traditions, and were far from God.
“He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ””
Matthew 15:3-9 NKJV
When the unnamed scribe spoke to the Lord, I suspect they were convicted, reminded of how far they had fallen. They dared not question Jesus again, for the more they did so, the more it was abundantly clear to those they had led that these people did not know the God they professed to represent.
Brothers and sisters, let us be mindful of the what the Lord has done for us, and let us love Him with all that we are. If not for Jesus, we would be ones more hopeless, for we would be ones destined for hell.
As we love the Lord, we desire to delve deep in His word, that it bring about the deep transformations that must take place if we hope to be effective ministers of the Gospel.
As we love Him, we also learn to love others, which is the other great commandment. Our world is filled with people who do not know what love is, form they have been deceived by the devil into thinking that what is actually lust is love. It is on us to go forth into this deceived world and bring the truth.
Jesus has served as the model of what love is, and by His grace those who are His born again followers have been given the Holy Spirit to assist them in showing that same love.
Lest we forget:
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. ”
I Corinthians 13:4-8a NKJV
Sin is very damaging and those who have born its blows and they present as a mutation of what they ought to be. They may seem repugnant and evil, but we are to look beyond that, understanding that the devil has been at work in their lives.
The word of God is our preparation for the ministry the Lord has given, for it has the power to transform us, making not what awe were, but a glimpse of what we will be, someday, in eternity.
I tell you the truth, the work that lies ahead, for those who choose to take up the call, will be arduous, and there will be no benefit if we are not fully empowered with the word. In fact, the work will be impossible. We are entering a time of great spiritual warfare, and even now the evil one is probing for openings. It is crucial to be covered in the armor the Lord has provided.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:13-18 NKJV
Let us put on that armor, poring over this great love letter, the Bible, the Lord has left for us.
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One thought on “Conviction”
Amen! As Christian soldiers, we must continually drill, studying God’s word, and live in readiness, always willing to go and make disciples. Thank you, Bernie!