Devotion for the Week...
With three boys in the house, there are lots of times when I send one boy to give instructions to another. Maybe Nathan is in the kitchen with me while I make supper, so I send him to get his brothers to come and help set the table. Or Nathan is playing in the tub and I send Aiden to tell him it's time to get out.
Whatever the instruction is, all three boys obey what their brother tells them to do. Not because Aiden feels the need to obey Nathan, or vice versa, but because they know that the instructions are actually coming from me. There may be a messenger involved, but the messenger is not the one giving the orders.
Did you know that Jesus actually described Himself as a messenger? He said, "Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me...I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say" (John 12:44,45,49,50). He also said, "The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work" (John 14:10).
I find that fascinating. My boys obey instructions given to them by their brothers because they know that the instructions come from a higher authority, namely me, their mother. We are to obey instructions given to us by Jesus because, again, those instructions come to us from a higher authority. In this case, the higher authority is the Father, Jesus' Father and our Father. The commands and instructions that Jesus gave while He walked the earth, all of them came from our Father and were spoken with the weight of the authority of the Father behind them.
Jesus commanded us to love one another: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34). This means loving our fellow believers even if we disagree with them. Even if their personality rubs us the wrong way. Even if they are rude or mean or...whatever. We are simply supposed to love one another, no matter what.
He told us not to judge: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" (Matthew 7:1). This is a tough one. It is so hard not to think that other people are wrong while we are right. It is so hard not to let our own imperfections slide while judging people harshly for their imperfections. And yet we have been told not to judge others.
Most importantly, He told us the two greatest commandments: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30,31). Loving God with everything we are sounds like it should be simple, but in reality we are often divided, seeking after things other than God. As for loving our neighbor as ourselves...see the previous two commands.
If one of the boys didn't listen when a brother gave him instructions from me, there would be consequences. Most likely it would be me coming to speak to him or maybe a loss of some privilege. If we don't obey the commands Jesus gave us from the Father, there may be consequences too. Those consequences could have a lasting, and maybe eternal, impact, either on our own relationship with God, our relationships with other people or the relationship other people have with God.
Our thought for the week, then, is "Are we obeying the messenger?"