Fresh Bread

And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.          1 John 2:3-6 (NLT)

In my mind, John writes very loving words. When I am talking with someone who is new to reading the Bible, I encourage them to start with John’s gospel. John’s first chapter is almost like poetry. He records Jesus’ words that He desires that we have an “abundant life” (John 10:10). He says not to worry but trust Him; that He is the way; and ask for anything and He will do it (John 14).

It isn’t all posies in John’s gospel but God grew up John and so John shared what he was learning in the letters he wrote in 1, 2, and 3 John and Revelation. And this passage hit me like an arrow, reminding me of a solid truth: if I say that I know God – then I obey Him. Period. And just in case I have some thought in my mind to get around what that is really saying, John takes that away with his next statement that flat out pronounces me a liar if I try to say I know Him and don’t obey! Well, I have been told!

But wait. There is another sentence I need to connect to what I have been told so far. When I obey, it is a complete expression of my love for God. In obedience, I am placing myself in humility, acknowledging that He is my LORD. I am also listening. My life is that of a servant. I am living my life as a servant just as Jesus did.

This year has begun with a conviction in my spirit that there is no more time to try to fool myself or others. I cannot fool God. He knows who and what I am. But I can fool others. I can even talk myself into believing some deceptions. I can ‘play the game’. Look good. Act good. Stink on the inside. No more. I have decided to live naked before God. I am asking God to speak to me about who I am and what needs to change because I am listening!

When I read the Gospels and I see the disciples arguing about who is greater (Luke 9:46), or planning how they will sit next to Him in the Throne Room of Heaven (Matthew 20:21-23), or Peter telling Jesus that He does not have to die (Mark 8:33), I see myself, full of myself; full of pride. I know what’s best for my life. I know how holy I am. I know the best way for God to work out His plan! I see myself and, frankly, I am done with that. So 2011 is a good number, a good year to make a change. Repent, Jody. It is time to show God what is really in my heart. Yes, He already knows but when I choose to open my cloak and be real, God is pleased. Let God clean out the dirt and trash. It is time to be the child He has been teaching and raising me to be.

This is the core reason to read and study my Bible. There is always fresh bread and water to nourish my spirit and move me closer to my Father. There is always more that lifts and encourages me and, in turn, others with whom I share.

“And we can be sure…” Isn’t that an awesome promise? In a world that keeps me off-balance and tries to pour negative junk all over me – I can be sure of my Father’s love. I keep my eyes on Him. I tune my ears to Him – and everything will be all right. I have proof. I have Him.

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