As a teacher, one of my many pet peeves with students is when they treat a command as a choice. Example:
Me: Ok guys, we’re going to complete page 54.
Them: I don’t want to do that.
Me: I’m sorry, you seem to be under the impression that I was asking you if you WANTED to complete page 54. I wasn’t.
This experience reminds me of all the times we take God’s commandments as suggestions instead of directives.
“I know you said forgive God, but they’re not really worth it.”
“I should tell the truth but a lie won’t do that much damage.”
“You said don’t have sex before marriage but we’re in love.”
“I know I should love everyone as I love myself but I can’t do that because I don’t like them.” (my personal favorite)
We have a “but” for everything and in the moment we feel so justified in our decisions. Like, surely Jesus didn’t come down here so that we may have a right to the tree of life; we saved ourselves, right?
I laugh at myself because I become so annoyed when my students do this, giving me feedback as if their opinion somehow changes what I said. But far too often I feel the need to tell God what I’m not going to do, knowing what He’s already told me is required of me. It’s not a “if you want to” or “if you feel like it,” it’s required.
My students can come to school every day and do nothing I told them to do. It won’t stop me from getting my paycheck but it will certainly stop them from moving on to the next grade level. We are not doing God a favor when we obey His Word. He doesn’t stop being God because we choose to disobey. God has told us what we need to do, it’s outlined in His Word, so let’s just do what we’re told.
Revelations 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.