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Obeying Is The Proof of Believing

John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)

There were many people who liked to think that they were disciples, followers or supporters of Jesus. Which ones were real disciples? Surely it must be those who believed in Him. Yes, but how deep did that faith go? It was easy to be caught up with the enthusiasm of the crowd and to enjoy the teaching, realising that it made sense. But what happened when they went back to their homes and into the workplace?
 
Jesus said that the test of being a disciple is ongoing obedience. It is one thing to agree with others in a crowd that the words of Jesus were good and wise: it is quite another thing to change a lifetime's habit, or adopt a radically different lifestyle. Jesus did not despise their embryo belief, nor did He demand that they follow a set of rules: Jesus simply asked them to put His teaching into practice. He promised that those who did so would be liberated from their old way of life.
 
It is not enough to hear the words of Jesus and believe that they are true. We can only know their meaning when we put His teaching into practice. That means making different decisions and behaving in a different way because we believe His teaching is true. And then we need to keep on obeying. As we do, it is right to expect that we will be released from the addiction to sin, and be free to love and serve our Lord. These verses should be a regular challenge every time we read the Scriptures: is this the way I think and act ... if not, what must I do to show Jesus that I understand and want to please Him? And then, am I willing to move from a single act of obedience to a lifetime of transformed living? The Holy Spirit is here to help us, but we must be willing to cooperate with Him.

Prayer 
Dear Lord God. Thank You for making the Scriptures so clear about the things, actions and attitudes which please You; and those which You hate. I am sorry for thinking sometimes that it is enough to know or even teach Your truth, yet fail to obey. Please help me to think about Your Word differently, and choose to take it seriously because You are an awesome God who is always right and must be obeyed. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams