So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I have always considered these two verses to be what I refer to as “key verses.” They unlock the key to being a true disciple of Christ according to Himself. This is huge, if you have a desire to be a true disciple of Christ. We must continue in His Word. It isn’t about the spiritual gifts we have put so much emphasis on, but it is continuously staying in the Word of God. I certainly believe in the spiritual gifts listed in the Word, but we must have the spiritual maturity in the Word to have the discernment necessary to be led by the Spirit and not by our emotions. Hebrews 5:14 states:
“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Remember, to be followers of Christ we must follow the example and instructions found in the Word. Our lives must be sifted through the Word of God in order for us to stay the course on the narrow path we are told few will find. In Matthew, chapters six and seven, Jesus is teaching the practices of “kingdom life.” We would do well to study these chapters to learn from Him to determine if we are being taught correctly in our churches. Chapter 7:13-14 Jesus declares:
“Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
After reading this passage many years ago, I prayed diligently for my family and me to be among the few. That means we will not be among the majority. Read carefully the following verses 7:15-23:
Beware of the prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit, is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.
Jesus tells us twice in these verses you will know them by their fruit — not their gifts, In fact prophesying in His name, casting out demons, and performing many miracles did not qualify them being a follower of Christ. What qualifies a true believer is those who do the will of the Father. If you have no knowledge of His commandments in His Word, how can you perform His will? Obviously sensationalism doesn’t impress God like it does man.
Obedience is better than sacrifice He tells us in His Word. (1 Samuel 15:22) If you live a life of sacrifice initiated by you rather than God, it is a dead work. You will not be rewarded for dead works. You must continuously stay in the Word to do His will. Most times I do not know how to pray until I have spent time in His Word giving the Spirit time to speak to me. Then I can pray according to His will and His ordinances, rather than what I feel. We cannot live out of our emotions instead of being led by the Holy Spirit. We must learn to discern the difference.
Isn’t it interesting in 1 Kings 19:11-12 when God invited Elijah to join Him upon the mountain top to speak to Him, He wasn’t in the wind that was rending the rocks, or the earthquake, or the fire that followed. God was in the stillness of a gentle blowing wind, or a gentle sound of stillness. When we quiet our lives by sitting in a quiet place alone with our Bible that is when we will hear His voice. He will ask you questions just like He did Elijah. He will reveal truth to you in your innermost being.
When we seek a knowledge of the Word of God more than the latest on Facebook we will live a fuller life, and be set free from the trappings of social media. This may come as a shock for many, but God knows more than Google! If we spent as much time looking up answers in His Word as we do googling we would not only gain true wisdom, but be set free from all the lies and deception we are being fed. Jesus warned us over and over of the lies and deception that would increase in the last days. Satan is synonymous with lies. He is a great deceiver and liar. Jesus said the truth is not in Him. He has no truth to offer. He quotes the Word of God in half truths. Read Matthew 4:1-11. Satan quoted scripture to Jesus out of context to tempt Him — not to reveal God’s will. That is why you must gain a knowledge of the whole counsel of God. God doesn’t use His Word to manipulate people. He sets them free from the lies they have believed. As you renew your mind continuosly with His Word, and offer your self daily as a living sacrifice, it has the power to transform anyone’s life, and set them free from the slavery of deception and sin. It promises we may prove the will of God which is good, acceptable, and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
I pray you will take the time to read this devotional in a quiet place alone, and look up the scriptures, and begin to become His true disciple according to His Word. We know the greatest commandment is to love God with our all, as He loves us. (Matthew 22:34-40) We cannot love someone we do not know. He will reveal who He is through His Word to you, but you must come to Him alone. He wants you to Himself. He desires an intimate relationship with each one of us. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you obey His Word and heed His instruction. True freedom can only be found in the truth of God’s Word for your life.
In His love.
Cherished moments with my youngest grandson, little Caleb, this weekend!