“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” says James 1:27 (see link for context), and there is a lot in there about not just hearing but obeying the word. But this is easier said than done! Recently I have been reading (on occasion) the old book A Taste of New Wine by Keith Miller. This book is filled with a lot of wisdom from God, lived out and shared. It is brimful of encouragement too- the author does not depict himself as perfect but points us more and more towards the perfect God.
One of the interesting points the book makes (among numerous others) is the value of spending time with God. Just “feeling we ought to” does not inspire us to read the scriptures and really spend time talking with the Lord (oh… and listening). What encouraged Keith to do this more was meeting someone who really touched others for God and who clearly had a thriving relationship with the Lord. Keith asked him how this came to be and the man replied that it was this time spent with God that made the difference. Seeing this encouraged Keith to really make this a priority- with a host of battles and failures along the way- but nonetheless there was a new determination from that point on. So, no attempt to inspire guilt or goody-two-shoes-ness can make us spend more time with God. Do we want to? Maybe not as much as we should? So pray for our/your/my attitude to change for the better!
The reward of knowing God is uh… knowing God! It’s like what the prize is for coming first in a tournament: the main thing is usually the winning- not some other thing! The joy of a life spent in God’s company rather than god’s Company (oh I’m trying to be clever and referring to the Company of the institutional church, with the small “g” for the lack of real Godliness we sadly sometimes find there- please excuse my foolishness). When we want to know someone we spend time with them. I want to know God and I want to be more like Him, but perversely, my sinful (old, dead) mind tries to tell me this is somehow different from other relationships and that merely believing the right stuff is enough. Well, I “believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (James 2:19). NB I’m not not NOT saying that believing the truth about God is unimportant- we can’t know God without trusting Him and the scriptures He has caused to be written- but if my relationship with my wife or children consisted merely of believing they existed I think I’d be in trouble- how much more so with the Living God?
May the Lord who Saves bless you and may you and I all get to know Him better and love Him more.
As Richard, a Bishop of Chichester once prayed, may “we may see Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly”…