Many times when I have conversations with non-Christian friends or hear non-Christians talking about Christianity or expressing apprehension about it, there is an idea that somehow Christianity is a difficult thing.
In this article I want to make the point that Christianity is a simple thing. I am sharing what I learnt from Deuteronomy chapters 5 and 6.
Love God above all else
In Deuteronomy chapters 5 and 6 Moses is reminding the people of Israel of key things to remember. This is the point just before they enter the land God had promised their ancestors when He brought them out of slavery and oppression in Egypt. It is a long awaited moment. Possession of a land of their own. A place they can settle, no longer wandering through wilderness and lands owned by others.
What Moses is about to say here is significant because Moses has been their leader and he knows he will soon die. He knows, because of his past disobedience, he will not accompany them. So he tells them some things he wants them to carry with them always, when he is gone. Verse 5 of Deuteronomy chapter 6 (New Revised Standard Version) says:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
God also warns His people in verses 8 to 9 of Deuteronomy chapter 5 that they must not have any idols. Many believers would say they love God. But do you love Him with your everything?
Be honest. Are there areas in your life that come before God in importance and priority?
Idols may look like your job, money, car, spouse, children, hobbies, anything that gets in the way of your relationship with God. These things are not bad things. In fact, they are good parts of an enjoyable life. God bestows these good gifts on us (James chapter 1 verse 17). But they are never to take the place of God.
Neither are they to be things you love as much as God.
Obey God’s commands
The way we show we love God is by obedience. God said plainly, “if you love me, keep my commands” (John chapter 14 verse 15). Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 6 (NRSV) says:
“Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.”
This same message can be found in Deuteronomy chapter 5 verse 29 where God speaks about “fearing” or having respect or reverential awe for Him.
It’s a clear-cut thing. Whatever God tells you to do, do. What he says don’t do, don’t do. If you are unsure what to do, as James chapter 1 verse 5 says, seek his wisdom, which he freely gives.
This doesn’t mean obedience itself is easy. It involves giving up having your own way. Your own will. It means doing what God wants, even when you don’t feel like it. When it is uncomfortable and you would prefer to do something else. Or when it may, on the face of it, appear disadvantageous to you.
Do not turn away from Him when your needs and desires are met
In Deuteronomy chapter 6 verses 10-12, Moses urges the Israelites:
“When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—a land with fine, large cities that you did not build,houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill,take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
It is usually easy for us to cling to God when we feel adrift in the dark moments in life, yet to toss Him aside when things start going well. Prosperity can be an enemy of faith, if we let it. If we allow it to be the place we put our trust and ambitions and forget God.
Acknowledge enablement of the Holy Spirit
I heard the story of a man who made a decision to follow Christ over a weekend at a church crusade. When he went into work on Monday morning and told his boss, his boss said: “Thank God! I’m a Christian and I’ve been praying for you to become a Christian for years.”
The man replied “yes, I know you are a Christian and you are why I didn’t become a Christian for so long.”
The boss asked: “what do you mean?”
The man said: “you always acted like you were perfect. And I always said to myself I couldn’t be perfect like you. I knew I didn’t have it in me. It wasn’t until this weekend, I learnt that it was the Holy Spirit in you giving you the power to follow God’s commands.”
What a sad story! Christians should be real with non-believers. Be honest and admit that it is through a relationship with the Holy Spirit, through following His leading, we are able to do the will of our Creator (1 John chapter 3 verse 9). It is our faith that saves us, not our works.
The Bible compares our own righteousness to filthy rags (Isaiah chapter 64 verse 6).
Spend the week asking God to open your eyes to the simple things. Ask him to show you ways you can love and obey Him more. And to remind you of the fact that He loves you and wants the best for you. And that all He asks is that you put Him first and give Him your everything.
He deserves it.
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.