“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17
Sometimes we want a list of things to check off to make things easier for us to know what to do. That way we can focus on the list and ignore the other stuff. That’s why the ten commandments seems to make it easy for us. But the ten commandments were never meant as a list. They were just a basic starting point. Because You always wanted us to examine our hearts and compare them to Yours. You never wanted us to follow a list of rules and regulations and principles. You wanted us to follow You and Your character. And that’s what today’s words are all about.
You, Yourself, tell me, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” And I’m going to start off with the idea behind “these things.” It’s so easy to read that and think that You are talking about some rules I’m supposed to follow and obey. And there are some. But this is more than that. “Tauta” is the Greek for “these things” and it does mean these things, this, he, she, or it. Yet, there is also a sense of after you know, following through. And what if I change the “these things” and make them the whole idea of You and Your character and say, “If I know You, if I know It Your character), blessed am I if I abide in It?” And I think I need to look at it this way here, Lord, because You haven’t been talking about rules, You’ve been talking about Your character, Your attitude, Your servant heart even as Master and asking me to follow Your example. And You weren’t following rules, You were following the heart of Father God. You were following Your heart. And isn’t that what I’m supposed to obey and follow?
But how can I obey and follow Your heart, God’s heart, if I don’t know it? The Greek word for “know” here is “eido.” It means “to see, to perceive.” It implies turning my eyes, my mind, my attention to something. It’s when I ascertain what must be done about what I see. It’s “inspecting, examining, beholding, experiencing.” It’s the “force and meaning of something that has definite meaning”. It’s having regard for, CHERISHING, and paying attention to something. And how can I know Your heart and experience Your character without spending intimate time with You? I need time in Your Word, lots. I need fellowship with other believers who spend lots of time with You. I need time in prayer. I need to be walking with You every moment of the day. This happens as I listen to You and as I read Your Word and wait on You to give me understanding. This is the point where I say, “I see what You mean. I get what You’re saying.” And actually, I should end those sentences with an exclamation point because this is exciting! Strong’s Concordance says, (“seeing that becomes knowing”) then is a gateway to grasp spiritual truth (reality) from a physical plane.” It’s the bridge from the physical to mentally and spiritually seeing and comprehending. “I know, remember, APPRECIATE.”
If I CHERISH and APPRECIATE You, I will take Who You Are and what You’ve shown me and follow You, follow that, abide in You, abide in that. You will become my life. I will follow hard after You, not Your rules, not Your commands, not Your precepts and principles, but You. I will want to follow them because they are of You and they represent You and I want to represent You. I want to be all about You. I don’t want to just be all about You, I want to be in You and You in me! After all, if I know, really KNOW You and these things about You, I’m blessed if I “do” them!
Well, now I’ve put “do” in quotation marks. Why? Because it’s not just about following those rules. This is that word “poieo” again. And it does mean to make or to do. But it’s the same word that showed us how God created the world. It just flowed from inside You. Creating is part of Your character. It’s how an real artist just does what they do naturally because it flows from who they are. So, therefore, You and Your character should be becoming so much a part of me that Your character flows naturally from me.
Now, John really wants me to get this truth. This is so important to him that he shares this truth at least eleven times throughout John and 1 John. And I also found at least four Old Testament references. And I think I should take a look at them:
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations…” Deuteronomy 7:9
“You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep His charge, His statutes, His rules, and His commandments always.” Deuteronomy 11:1
“…For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as He took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 30:10
“And I said, ‘O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments…” Nehemiah 1:5
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15
“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, He it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21
“Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'” John 14:23
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10
“Whoever says, ‘I know Him’;but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His Word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” 1 John 2:4-6
“Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:24
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:2-3
“And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” 2 John 1:6
So, why did I share all this today, Lord? What I think doesn’t matter, not one jot or tittle. But what You think matters. This is what I need to believe and let You live out in my life. I do know You and I know Your character and the things You are teaching me. I’m continually growing to know You more and more deeply. I’ve experienced the passion of Your love for me through the cross and through the faithfulness of Your Word, like this today, being evidenced in my life. Every time I grasp Your Word and allow You to live it out in my life, You do, and I experience You and You manifest Yourself to me just like You said You would.
But Lord, I can’t get enough of You. The more I experience of You, the more I want to experience You more. Your passion for me has created (poeio?) a passion in me for You and all that is in You. Your love brings tears to my eyes. Because this intense love and intimacy isn’t only for me, it’s for each person who will seek to know You, who will seek out who You really are, who will seek out Your character. I can’t live without You. You make me alive in You. I’m empty without You. I’m empty when I’m not “doing” (poeio-ing?) what’s on my Father’s heart. This is all so foundational to who I am in You or who I am not in You.
If I delight in You and what You delight in, blessed am I if You flow from me. “Blessed,” “makarios” in Greek doesn’t just mean fortunate, well off, blessed, or happy. It goes deeper too. Skip Moen in his Hebrew Word Study shared, “It is a description of the condition of a person, not a formula for receiving some spiritual blessing…This is the verb that implies a state of bliss derived from some deliberate action by the recipient. This is the Hebrew verb used over and over in Psalms, and repeatedly used as the foundation of Yeshua’s teachings called the Beatitudes. This describes a person’s inner experience, not a formula for spiritual accumulation…The one who realizes, acknowledges and lives according to the truth revealed in the Messiah is the luckiest person on earth (and in heaven). He has found the key to life itself.”
And, Lord, I so appreciate these words You have lead me to. I want to repeat them again. “The one who realizes, acknowledges, and lives according to the truth revealed in [You] is the luckiest person on earth (and in heaven)[!] He has found the key to life itself[!] (Exclamations added by me!) There it is, John 13:17 and he wasn’t even looking at this verse. But it’s all over Your Word. It’s in the words. And it’s all over me and all in me and I am so grateful. I pray that Your Word would be all over and all in so many more and even those who read this today, if it’s not already. And for those who already have You inside, we are the luckiest people on earth and in heaven!