“The LORD your God is commanding you this day to follow these statutes and ordinances. You must be careful to follow them with all your heart and all your soul. Today you have affirmed that the LORD is your God and that you will walk in His ways, keep His statutes, commands, and ordinances, and obey Him. And today the LORD has affirmed that you are His special people as He promised you, that you are to keep all His commands, that He will put you far above all the nations He has made in praise, fame, and glory, and that you will be a holy people to the LORD your God as He promised.” – Deuteronomy 26:16-19 (HCSB)
At times in my life, it has been easy to dismiss scriptures like the one above as being applicable only to the Jews. After all, the book of Deuteronomy was written specifically to the Israelites, long before Christianity came onto the scene. If we view Old Testament scripture this way, we do a great disservice to our ability to live in the manner God intends for us. When Christ died on the cross, He ushered in an explosion in the population of His chosen people: it now included all those who would bow to Him and call Him Lord. With that in mind, let’s examine how this Old Testament scripture can be applied to our lives today.
If we would call Jesus Lord, then we must follow His rules. If we do not, He is not truly our Lord. Calling someone Lord involves an attitude of subservience and devotion. Are we devoted? Do we love Him as we say? Then we will obey Him. Jesus will not force us to obey; He will love us regardless of our response to His directives. He is the Servant King, and those who love Him must become servant subjects.
Notice the wording chosen when He instructs us to follow His instructions: He says we must “be careful to follow them”. Why would we need to “be careful”? I believe there are two reasons. First, when we do something carefully, we are fully engaged, we concentrate to accomplish the task at hand with great precision. Doing something carefully implies we are giving great thought to the task, not haphazardly rushing through what we have to do. Second, I believe we are told to “be careful” because we will be opposed at every turn as we attempt to be faithful. The enemy is lurking around our every move, looking to persuade us to deviate just a little from our destination. We must be diligent to ignore the temptations that would cause us to move off course.
Accepting Christ as our Lord is a marvelous two way street. When we accept Him, He promises to establish us as one of His chosen people. There are no preconditions, there is no entrance exam; our acceptance is automatic. When we believe and surrender to Him as Lord, we are transformed and integrated into the mass of His chosen people. He promises us that if we will simply obey His commands, He will make us a Holy people. He will raise us up above all nations. We are no longer citizens of any earthly kingdom or nation, but rather we belong only to Him, and He to us. From this point forward we must dismiss our sinful need to identify with anything that has been created, and find our identity only in the One who is the Creator. Our attitudes have to change, our lifestyles have to change. We are a Holy people, and if we would call Jesus Lord, we must then act like Holy people.
Study His Word and learn His commands. We must learn to everyday draw closer to God. We do this by carefully following all He will teach us. Just as we don’t take a day off from being a citizen of our country, there are no days off from being a citizen of God’s kingdom. Our surrender to Him provides us a permanent residence among His people, so long as we should want it. Relax in the loving arms of the King; rejoice in the fellowship of His people, who are now your people. Be careful to never shame His name and to always walk in His ways. If we would call Him Lord, we must faithfully live out our proclamation. In return, He will rain love and strength upon us.