This is the second of an irregular series, where I reflect on something seen online, usually through a post on Facebook. Yesterday I saw this:
"Jesus doesn't care how many Bible verses you have memorized. He cares how you treat other people."
Two statements, linked together. Of the first you could say that it is both true and false. And also of the second, it is both true and false.
Does Jesus care how many Bible verses I have memorized? Probably not, although I can't be certain of that. I have a number of verses marked in my Bible that I am trying to memorize, and I'll be honest and admit that I haven't been working at them with any diligence lately.
But here is the rub. If I don't take the word of God into my mind and let it dwell there, it won't take up residence in my heart. If I don't continually drink from the depth of God's word I won't be able to live any part of my life in a manner that is pleasing to him. I won't know how to care for other people in ways that please God unless I am standing on the firm foundation of God's word. That foundation is built on my continually dwelling in his word.
Which is where the second statement comes in. God may very well care how I treat other people, but it is not God's desire that I treat people merely in some sort of way that makes me feel good about myself. God wants me to treat people in ways that honor and praise him.
Like my efforts to memorize Bible verses, I fall short here too, but I have a good understanding of what my behavior towards others should look like, and I know that when I err, and I do so often, that God is gracious in granting forgiveness.
In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul writes these words about how Christians are to treat other people:
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Another response to the Facebook post are the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:36-39:
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
In these verses Jesus points us to God's word to nourish us, and then to take that nourishment and live it out in the world. To His eternal glory. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.