Tragic neglect

John 16:1-2 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away.They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”

There is a reason that Jesus said the things He said.  This pertains not just to the things He said to His disciples while he walked on earth, but to all things He said through the writers of Scriptures from the beginning of the Bible to the end.  He didn’t say things to us to just make us feel good. He didn’t engage in small talk.  There was always a purpose behind everything He said.  He knows us, and He knows that we are prone to being deceived, led astray, and misdirected in our lives. He knows that our value system and sense of right and wrong, without Him, is so flawed that we can think we are serving God when we are doing the exact opposite.  We are hopelessly lost without His Word to guide us.  And we are so misguided that in our natural condition, we are prone to reject everything He says, and to sincerely think that we have a better way. 

Any person who doesn’t have a relationship with Christ is like this.  Anyone without Christ is living a life and believing things that will eventually lead to death and eternal separation from God in a hopeless eternity.  No matter how sincerely a person believes what he or she believes, no matter how passionate, no matter how absolutely convinced that their way is right, without Christ they are blind to what is true and to what leads to life.  And not only are they endangering their own lives, they are endangering the lives of everyone else in their life with whom they have influence.  This is tragic, but it’s the truth. 

Think of this: although Jesus had lived for three years day in and day out with his disciples when he spoke the words in John 16 above, although they had seen him perform miracles, even raising Lazarus and others from the dead, even though they had sat at the very feet of the Creator, the King of Kings, learning from him daily, although they were absolutely convinced that he was God, Jesus had to warn them that they were still prone to falling away.  And the fact is that they all forsook Him in the coming days. 

So what about you and what about me?  Do we think we can do just fine without reading His Word? Do we think we are an exception and that we aren’t prone to going astray and that we would never do things that are the very opposite of what is best for us and what is consistent with everything that is true and right?  If the very men that saw Jesus with their own eyes and heard him with their own ears were prone to error and misdirection, can we think that we are any better? 

God help us to have ears to hear what Jesus has said to us. God help us to believe Him and His Word rather than all the other voices speaking into our lives, including our own.  God help us to value the Words of His mouth more than our necessary food, as Job came to understand (Job 23:12). 

Are you reading His Word?  Are you studying it? Are you crying out for understanding, or are you neglecting all this?  He has told us what He has told us so that we won’t fall away, for He knows us like no one else knows us. He knows that “the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them (Proverbs 1:32).” 

Oh how He wants to bless our lives – if we would just listen to Him – and obey.

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