My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)Childhood memories include those times of feeling uncertain about what to do and relying on my parents to lead and instruct me. For a child that is a normal part of growing up and learning to make decisions. For a Christian, it is also normal, but it never stops.
With the new life of Christ living in me, many times I am uncertain if the strange or unusual thought that comes into my mind is mere fancy or from Him. Of course, His Word is the final say, but I don’t always have a Bible in my hand, or time to check out what it says regarding a particular course of action.
Besides, the Bible does not give particulars for every situation. Young people would like God’s written Word to tell them the person they should marry, what career choice is the best, and so on. Sometimes I want the Lord to speak loudly about my daily schedule or who to visit when or what I should say to a hurting person.
Instead of spelling out all the answers, God does offer principles. The one above is about matching what I do with what I say, and vice versa. This particular verse puts emphasis on doing. Other verses put emphasis on speaking. In any given situation, the child of God may not know for sure which is called for. Do I act? Do I speak? Do I keep quiet and not move at all?
Yesterday as I prepared to leave the family I have been visiting the past few days, the thought came that I should tell my cousin that I love him. This sounds easy and normal, but he is a retired chemical engineer, more than ninety years old, and seems guarded about feelings and personal things. Was this thought from Jesus?
I decided on the spot that it was. I know myself too, and if it were up to me, I’d have considered a hug enough. However, as I hugged and said goodbye, I told him that I loved him. He was startled, but repeated the words back to me. After I left and began driving back to Canada, I had the sharp impression that was the biggest reason God had me drive all that way in the first place.
The soldiers’ slogan, “Ours is not to reason why. . . .” is also the Christian’s slogan. God puts ideas in our hearts or a course of action on our path. He may ask for words or deeds or a combination. Sometimes we understand, but often we do not. Obedience isn’t about understanding; it is about faith in God’s wisdom.
My devotional reading says what we do reveals who we are. Following the voice of God even when it seems odd, or without reason, or goes against the grain of our human nature reveals that we trust Him and that we belong to Him. It reveals that we are His children.
Because of that, if anyone wants to say that I am like a child, as long as this is what they have in mind then I am quite happy to be one.