Keeping God’s commands is not always easy. So, how does one go about keeping them? There are many commands we must obey. Although they are only for our good, obeying those at times becomes difficult. We are engaged in a daily battle. Our spirit that has been renewed by God fights against the flesh that still tries to display the qualities of our old self. It is when winning the battle appears difficult that one finds keeping God’s commands difficult. It is impossible to obey God according to the flesh. But if our heart’s desire is for Him and His goodness, we have the energy and courage to obey Him. It is by this desire that Moses asked the Israelites to obey God. “Then Moses and the elders of Israel charged the people, saying, ‘Keep all the commandments which I command you today’” (Deut. 27:1).
God’s commands are there so that when we keep them we are blessed. Their primary objective is to keep us from sin. Obviously, the result of not obeying them is bad consequences. The first thing needed to keep His commands is to know the commandments and the substance in them. Their substance gives our spirit the energy and courage to overcome the flesh. The second thing we must do is apply them by the situations we face. Then, we can indeed go about keeping them. When we face a situation where the possibility to sin exists, we can act according to the substance of the commands our spirit holds. For instance, if one faces the probability of lying, he can only escape it when his obedience is fueled by the substance of the command his spirit holds. He then receives the power and authority from the Holy Spirit to act righteously. Hence, Jesus said His commands are not burdensome. They are burdensome, if our desire is for the flesh.
The third thing we must do is foresee the sin that wants to captivate us. It is through the substance of God’s commands. The substance works in us by the situations we face. Therefore, we realize the possibility of sinning before we sin. At that time if we turn ourselves to desire God and His goodness, we escape it. David was able to do it and did not sin. “Then David came to his house at Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women, the concubines whom he had left to keep the house, and placed them under guard and provided them with sustenance, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as widows” (2 Sam. 20:3). He came back to his house after the death of his son Absalom. Yet, he did not touch his concubines whom he left at the time he ran from his son. Absalom defiled them. David realized the possibility of the sin existed and acted on the substance of God’s commands.
Each time we face the possibility of sinning we have a choice. That choice can be governed by the commandments of God, if we desire. By being keen on keeping His commands we make the right choice; we do not sin. Any time we do not do His will, obey Him or do not do the things He requires of us, it is sin. Another objective of His commands is to mend us into His image. This is when He shows Himself to us. And David rightly said, “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!” (Ps. 8:1). The things He does in our life will be unimaginable. He will astonish us over and over and again. The more and often we are putting to practice the substance of His commands, the greater and greater His desire for us would be. In fact, there would be mutual exchange of love between us and Him.
There are many things in life we wish for and many that we do not wish to happen. They are satisfied by the splendor God displays toward us. He quickly brings us out of pain and loss. He can quickly change our circumstances. He can cause us joy by removing the hurt we experienced from various oppositions. If sin is not an obstacle between us and God, we can expect to see His splendor. Because, what sin does is force God to makes changes. If we do not desire to put a stop to sin that is controlling us, we lose. “Then I will make to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land will become a ruin” (Jer. 7:34). And hence, keeping the commandments is pivotal. We can continually resist the temptations that compel us to sin.
Sin deceives men to a happiness that does not last and to hurt. Since it cannot stand against the power and righteousness of God, it cannot support forever the happiness it provides. Therefore, those who sin continually and without remorse always lose. On the other hand, the keeping of commandments brings joy that lasts. For its substance is of God and is sustained by the everlasting God. At times we sin, though we have the substance of His commands. Whether by weak or false emotions or other frailties, we fall short of pleasing Him. The quick remedy is to get back to keeping the commandments that produce repentance. You see, God has given us endless grace through His commandments that we should always live in His presence. “Then you will know that I have sent this commandment to you, that My covenant may continue with Levi, says the LORD of hosts” (Mal. 2:4). When He keeps us, who keep His commandments and yet, punishes those who are without remorse, we know the covenant He made with us. We know He will never break off His relationship with us.
Our striving should always be to keep God’s commands. Then, at all times we can have the privilege of being with Him. It is actually when we strive to keep the commands that there is a possibility of falling, since Satan powerfully refutes us. If one does not strive, he or she is naturally fulfilling all sin. What then is the outcome of striving? We are never perfect, but God makes us perfect (whole). “EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED, AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW; THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT, AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH” (Luke 3:5). He leads us to perfection. We always walk toward perfection getting closer to the image of Jesus Christ. And this is substantiated by keeping His commandments.
Whether or not we keep the commandments is known only to us. In other words, no man can know it better than us. And if we are keeping them, God certainly rewards us; for they are reflected in everything we do for Him. And He in turn makes sure that our obedience is known. “Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Cor. 3:13).