False doctrine is everywhere today, proliferating in our churches and on the internet. It’s almost impossible to escape and can be difficult to detect if we aren’t constantly marinating our minds on the Scriptures. As J. C. Ryle wrote, “False doctrine does not meet men face to face, and proclaim that it is false. It does not blow a trumpet before it, and endeavor openly to turn us away from the truth as it is in Jesus. It does not come before men in broad day, and summon them to surrender. It approaches us secretly, quietly, insidiously, plausibly, and in such a way as to disarm man’s suspicion, and throw him off his guard.” None of us are immune, so we all must remain diligent in discerning the truth.
In his first epistle, John encourages believers to “…remain in Him, so that when He appears we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28). To remain in Him not only secures our eternity, it also leads to living this life to the fullest extent possible (John 10:10). Many proclaim they believe in Jesus, but far fewer say they know Him.
But how many will remain in Him until He returns? Abiding in Christ doesn’t feel natural to our fallen nature, no matter how much our soul longs to be with Him. Those who love Christ want to be full of Him and nothing else. They want to forsake the world and follow Jesus. Making such proclamations is easy. Living every day of our lives like we mean it is another story entirely.
You prove your love for God by your obedience to God. This isn’t about working to earn God’s approval, but rather demonstrating your commitment to Christ. If you love Him, you will obey His commands (John 14:15). We don’t do the works we do in obedience to God to earn His favor. Instead, we obey out of an appreciation of His favor for us.
It’s not about a works-based salvation, but a recognition that true salvation will encompass works done out of our love for Jesus. No one who refuses to love God will obey His commands. The works you do in obedience to your Lord are the evidence of a genuine salvation. You prove your love by surrendering your life and living for Him.
Your whole life is about one thing — living for Jesus. It’s not about what you achieve, who you become, or what you do. The only thing that matters is Jesus. We live as if it’s all about us, but that is the height of delusion. Nothing you or I do will ever count for anything outside of what we do for Christ. Everything you accumulate goes to someone else when you die.
Nothing goes with you, not even your reputation. Everything gets left behind. Nothing we build on earth will survive. Only what we do for Jesus will transcend time and span eternity. This life is not about you, it’s all about Him. This whole life, unless you live it for Jesus, is meaningless.
What’s your plan to grow in your knowledge of God and His Word? How’s it going? As I write this, we’re almost a month into a new year, and I’m guessing scores of resolutions have already died a quick and quiet death. How’s that Bible reading plan progressing? Are you on track? How about getting up early so you can spend some quiet time in prayer with the Lord?
Are you still making it out of bed into the cold, dark morning? History and experience say things probably aren’t going so well. I’m actually ahead on my Bible reading, but falling woefully short in other areas. There are legitimate reasons we fall off target. But, the truth is, we are all trading our heartfelt commitments for things that are far inferior and worthless.