Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Falling Short

Do you understand the difference between a covenant and a contract? You will be familiar with contracts if you have ever purchased software, rented an apartment, or entered into some kind of employment. A contract is pretty well one sided, listing all the protections of one party as well as the small benefit you will receive from their services. It certainly lists your obligations. On the other hand, a covenant is an agreement between two people that has nothing to do with protecting rights but a statement what each person will do for the benefit of the other. Marriage is a great example of this.

It is good to keep this in mind when reflecting on our relationship with Jesus because we are more than willing to accept what he offers but neglect our responsibilities in the covenant relationship. I talk about this a lot because we seem to think that our only responsibility is to worship. Jesus does all these wonderful things and all we have to do is sing some songs. The truth of the matter lay closer to what Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." That is our end of the covenant: Love manifested in obedience. But this is not anything new.

If we look back to Moses, we find a couple of verses, a quote from Yahweh, that was a nice summary of what he had said to Israel. We can call this the essence of the Law:

 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)

This is why Jesus said it was all or nothing. Read through Jesus' words again and make note of when he specifically talks about our relationship with him. You will discover how extreme it is. He told Nicodemus he would have to experience a new birth. He told the rich young man to go and sell everything he had, giving it to the poor, and then follow him. He required the twelve to give up everything. He said that we would have to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. He said we would have to love him more than our mothers, fathers, and children. He said that our love would be seen in our obedience.

The popular worship we know is only a tiny thing in our part of the covenant relationship we have with Jesus. True worship happens every day in everything we do and say. Jesus gave his life in this covenant and we are expected to do the same if we enter into it. He sacrificially gave his all to us and we sacrificially give our all to him. Does it not sound like a marriage? We are the Bride of Christ.

Do you think we might be falling short in our understanding of our relationship with Jesus?

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