Yesterday we ended with the question: “So, if keeping God’s commandments doesn’t mean biting the bullet and doing it whatever the cost, then what does it mean?”
Here’s your answer: (Click here if you missed Part I.)
The Greek word for “keep” is Tereo, and means “to guard” with the idea of keeping your eyes upon. We are given a picture here; the commands that Jesus gives us are to be kept before our eyes constantly, under a watchful guard. We are to have them continually before us, not allowing them to go away or get stolen (see Mark 4:4). This actually describes the practice of meditation, where we constantly have the Word before us, going over it over and over again in our minds. Through this constant repetition, just as in the illustration of the sheep ruminating its food, the Word goes down into our innermost being, our heart. But why is it important for the Word to go down into our heart? Because “out of it are the issues of life” – Prov. 4:23. The word for “issues” in this verse means “exit” or “outgoings.” In other words, it is from our heart that our life is lived out. So often we try to cover up what is truly in our heart, since “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” – Jeremiah 17:9. We attempt to live the right way, in spite of what is really going on within us. We give way to masking our fallen selves, instead of allowing the Word to regenerate our lives from the heart. This is why we must understand that “keep” does not mean “do it yourself” but “to guard” – to fasten our eyes upon Christ’s commands, to meditate upon them until they reach and abide in our heart. And once there, the nature of the Son of God is able to live through us, as He Himself is the Word made flesh (see John 1:14). It is not you doing His commands for Him, it is Him living them through you!
So, as we think about investing in the kingdom of God through conversation, let’s keep in mind a parable Jesus gave to portray the kingdom itself – a parable which must be understood, if any of the other parables are to be understood at all (see Mark 4:13). The parable is that of the sower that goes out and sows seed in his field (the seed representing the Word). There are several different types of ground (representing different types of hearts) that the seed falls upon, but the fruitful ground is the tilled up, fertile ground, that produces 30, 60, and 100 fold. But we have the choice for our hearts to stay hard and fallow to the Word, or to be broken up and receive it. One way or the other, our words will come forth from what is in our hearts (see Luke 6:45).
The potential is there for each one of us to advance the kingdom of our Lord through the words we speak, but we must understand the prerequisite. If we want to advance His kingdom through conversation on a consistent basis, if we want to declare His greatness to others (Psalm 145:6b), let us follow the example of the man who penned the Psalm, who meditated on the law of the Lord constantly (see Psalm 119:97). Through this keeping of the commands of the Lord, we can expect and look forward to the manifestation of Christ to us. And from this point we can declare His greatness to the world with confidence, because its reality has reached our very hearts.