I read a recent quote from Greg Boyd in which he referenced the unqualified commands of Jesus. When you read the passage in Luke 6:27-35 you find Jesus commanding us to love, serve, bless and do good to our enemies. All of these commands were given without condition. We have become brilliant at rationalizing why we shouldn’t do something for God, but Jesus left us no wiggle room.
He said to love, serve, bless and do good to our enemies – period. There is no excuse for ignoring the commands of Christ. If we would be a true and devoted follower of Him, we have no option other than to do what He instructed us.
Why is it we dogmatically hold to some commands of Scripture yet try and justify our way out of others? Few would ever argue that the command to “not commit adultery” was conditional on circumstance. However we justify killing in times of war and stealing in times of need. We are more than happy to adhere to the commands with which we can comfortably live, but much less so to those which we may deem inconvenient from time to time. Obedience is not conditional; we either follow Christ or we follow our own desires.
I encourage you to read the above referenced Scripture in Luke. Jesus is very clear on how we should be conducting our lives. It is a remarkably convicting passage. Without exception Jesus tells us to
- Love those who hate us – As followers of Jesus, we are hated by many: governments, other religions and organizations with political agendas. When was the last time you prayed for or extended kindness to someone in those categories? Could you love a terrorist?
- React in peace when someone acts violently toward us – Our instinct is to lash out in kind. We fight “just” wars, killing thousands in the process. Jesus was never about national sovereignty; He was only interested in establishing His Kingdom on earth.
- When someone steals from you, give them more – some of the teachings of Jesus seem so radical, but He was showing us a different way to live. We are not to hold onto anything on earth, but rather cling only to Him.
- Give to everyone who begs from you – How many homeless and poor do we pass by, simply looking the other way? We have been blessed with many resources with the intention that we pass them along.
I struggle with putting my own desires before those of Christ, and I suspect you do as well. We need to recognize that if we truly want to be followers of Jesus, we must obey Him without qualification. It’s too easy to let ourselves off the hook by appealing to His mercy and rationalizing away our own weaknesses. Our commitment must be more than obedience by convenience. We must grow our faith into one that takes the commands of Jesus at face value; we cannot add or subtract from His words.
Are you following the commands of Christ as He instructed or are you carving out some wiggle room for yourself? Do you love, serve, bless and do good to your enemies at every opportunity, only when convenient, or not at all? The life exemplified by Jesus is beautiful and worthy of our aspiration. What might this world look like if we would unequivocally obey Jesus? What might our lives become if we would follow in an unqualified manner, content with nothing less than total devotion? Jesus gave His life so that we might live as He did. We owe Him our heart and our every action. He is worthy of devotion without exception. Let’s give our rationalizations a rest and discover all we were created to be by following Him with all our heart.
Question: Which commands of Jesus do you tend to rationalize the most? You can leave a comment below.