Bearing the standard of Scripture means far more than simply recognizing Scripture as the objective, authoritative, written Word of God. It’s even more than knowing what the Scriptures say—more than faithfully turning to the Word for comfort, counsel and inspiration. If it is our true intention to renounce the voices we have allowed to influence us—to no longer live only for ourselves, but to follow Yeshua completely and without compromise—then it’s time to wake up, and totally commit our lives to God’s Word in absolute, unconditional obedience. As disciples of Messiah, there is no higher calling than to serve and obey the One and Only Master, whom we love.
As faithful disciples of Messiah, and humble servants of the God of Israel, our “grand business” before Him is simply to obey. We have neither the prerogative nor the responsibility to determine our own beliefs, establish our own values, or prescribe our own boundaries for behavior. On the contrary, even though the mere thought of being ordered around makes us squirm in our rebellious skin, our job is no more and no less than to just do what we’re told.
This, of course, is a slap in the face to our post-modern, Western sensibilities, which tell us to value independence above all, and to define freedom as the license to do as we see fit. But we are, after all, children under the guardianship of a perfect and loving Father. We have to remember that while His Word imposes limits on where we can go and what we can do, His boundless care and abundant provision sets us eternally free! Thank God that He has not left us to fend for ourselves—stranded and forsaken with no map, compass or sustenance—but has endowed us with the completely sufficient “depository of [His] will.” Within the confines of Scripture, then, we are free to revel in everlasting safety and truth. It is therefore our responsibility and joy to do what it tells us to do, in exactly the way it tells us to do it.
For this reason, whenever we are confronted with life’s many alluring alternatives and attractive opportunities —even those that entice us to do “a great deal” for God—there is a principal duty we must perform. As we pause contemplatively at the crossroads of each day’s decisions, we are obliged to ask ourselves but a single, simple, quintessential question: What do the Scriptures say? Which path does the only objective, authoritative, written revelation of God instruct me to take?
“This settles everything.” In the Scriptures, we have God’s will spread out before us—fixed, immutable, and unchangeable. It will not modulate with our moods, accommodate our agendas, or sway with our subjective, spiritual insights. When we are tempted to walk in our flesh away from the truth of God’s Word, the Spirit of God actively leads us back to fulfill Scripture’s righteous statutes (see Romans 8:4, cf. Ezekiel 36:27, John 16:13). Every thought, theory, assumption, opinion, vision, plan and precept is subject to the judgment of Scripture. Though the Father invites us to draw near to Him for deeper understanding (see Psalm 119:34), we have no such privilege to challenge the wisdom and finality of His rulings. No, “from the decision of the Word there must be no appeal.” What the Scriptures say is the end of the debate.
As those created in God’s very own image, it is our duty and pleasure to serve and obey our Master—to voluntarily enslave our minds (see Romans 7:25) and bend our wills to His Word. To be true, no amount of the sincerest admiration, respect, veneration, passion or even self-denial is acceptable to God unless it proceeds from our unconditional conformity and unrivaled obedience. Let us not forget “those pungent words of Samuel! ‘to obey is better than sacrifice.’” Indeed, our commitment to the Creator must far exceed all adoration and devotion we have for Him. Instead, as the Master Yeshua demonstrated by laying down His life in place of ours, the only adequate expression of love and submission must be displayed through action. Whatever the price—no matter the cost—we must heed the admonition of obedience: “When God speaks, man must bow.”
This article was excerpted from the book, “Bearing the Standard.”
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