John 8:31, NIV
To the Jews who had believed in him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.
There’s a certain pride in men, and maybe in some women as well, that wants people to believe they can do things, without anyone else telling them how to do it! Commonly, for example, people will set about assembling a piece of equipment without first reading the instructions. Eventually when all their efforts have failed and somehow or other the equipment doesn’t look or function like it should, they will dig out the instructions and start again!
Sadly, many believers adopt a similar approach to living the Christian life – they try and work it out for themselves, without reference to the instruction manual. Often, it’s only when things seem to be getting really out of order that people begin to think they may have got something wrong. And by the time that happens there could be serious problems in their life.
Many people look to Jesus for the freedom He has promised, thinking that, as believers, such freedom is theirs by right. They can’t understand why God isn’t answering their prayers! Our Scripture for today contains one of the most important keys to the problem. Of course, it’s true, that Jesus wants people to know His freedom and experience His healing. Jesus says as much when he clearly states that ‘the truth will set you free’.
But before that, He equally clearly says there’s a condition attached to the freedom He promises, and that is ‘if you hold to my teaching’. Or, in other words, if you read the instructions and put them into practice in your life! A disciple is not just someone who believes in the truth, but someone who obeys it. And that is the vital point that Jesus is making.
As believers we can expect God to honour the promises in His word, but only when we fulfil any conditions that are attached to them. In order to fulfil the conditions, we first need to know what they are – or read the instructions! The Bible is God’s instruction manual for the human race – if we ignore it our pride will always get us into trouble!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You not only want us to know Your freedom, but You loved us enough to teach us what it means to follow and obey You. Forgive me Lord for my pride of wanting You to bless me when there are things in my life which are not in line with Your will and purposes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.