Christians come up with all sorts of ideas of how to properly worship God.
If you ask a Christian (or otherwise) to tell you how to express devotion to God, you’ll get a variety of answers. Some of the responses might include singing praises aloud, feeding the hungry, or trusting Him in all circumstances. Some will say the answer is more ritualistic in nature: spending time reading the Bible, attending church regularly, or being baptized.
At best, these are partially true, but the answer is much simpler than that.
When we read the Bible — which, in this country, is an incredible privilege — we’re reading a series of histories, poetic discourses, and commandments that all point to Jesus Christ. He is the capstone of our faith, the whole manifestation of why we exist and have access to God. Being the Son of God, everything Jesus says is incredibly important. We must regard His words with urgency and priority.
When He repeats something in particular, it becomes even more profound.
In John 14, Jesus, being the human manifestation of God, tells us how to love Him. Not only does He reveal this secret, but He tells us how to do it, several times.
If you love Me, keep My commandments. (v. 15)
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. (v. 21)
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word… (v. 23)
He who does not love Me does not keep My words (v. 24)
But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. (v. 31)
But for many, this isn’t enough. There has to be more! Men devise all sorts of ways to access and worship God, to validate themselves and feel more productive through means unrelated to the commands of God. But Jesus doesn’t allow room for religion. He keeps it simple. He desires to express tremendous clarity when he speaks.
He is clear about salvation: that you must believe on Him. He is clear about His identity: He is the Son of God.
Likewise, He is clear about how to worship Him: do what He says.
You can find out what He asks us to do in the gospel accounts. He even summarizes it for us.
But for now, remember this simple truth: if you want to love Him, do what He says. Take care of the poor. Pray in secret. Deny yourself daily. Live in submission and regard others as better than yourself.
So do not compromise; be obedient. Do not modify, add to it or subtract from it. Mere knowledge of God or the Bible, or ritualistic activity, does not equate to an expression of love. Many say that they know Jesus Christ, but bear no evidence in their obedience to God. We must make ourselves distinct as Christians, especially in terms of obedience.
It’s important to realize that obedience to Jesus’ words is hard work. In some cases, it’s even impossible. But through the Holy Spirit and our relentless devotion to God, He will see our work and be pleased. And that’s the whole idea.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)