Proverbs 13:13 says: Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded (ESV).
I read that this morning and the thought struck me pretty hard. I looked it up in several other translations and it reads, “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded,” in the NIV. “People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed,” in the NLT. And the NASB says, “The one who despises the word will be in debt to it, But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.”
All of these translations say something just a little different, but the basic meaning, at least to me, is that the Word (Jesus) became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14) to show us the way, but for the most part we (creation) have despised Who and What He is. If Jesus is who He says He is, and we say that we believe in Him, The Word says that we are now dead to sin, so how can we live in it any longer (Romans 6:2)?
There was a question asked at my Lifegroup (a small group that my family and I attend) just this past Thursday night. The question was, “What is going on in your life and are you growing closer in your relationship with Jesus?” My answer was, “That is a hard question to answer, because from my perspective, the more time I spend in the Word and in Prayer, the more I see just how horrible I am. My life, when measured against the Holiness of God, seems to be worse and more disgusting than it ever has been. But, my family and those closest to me say that my walk has deepened and that I am living closer to Christ.”
I think that that is the dichotomy in the life of a true disciple of Christ. As we draw closer to God, we find out just who we are and how un-flattering our lives are in His light.. But, I also think that this is the biggest stumbling block to those who are far from God. Those who despise the Cross don’t want to know who they are. Take a look around you at the hurting masses of people, they spend their time and their money trying to build up their self-esteem. Trying to tell themselves that they have worth, that they are somebody, and that their lives matter. Sex, drugs, alcohol, computer games, Facebook; when you really think about these issues, whenever someone gets hooked into one of these vices, or hundreds other, it is basically a way to validate themselves, to make themselves feel better about themselves. A way of “glorifiying” self instead of God. Unfortunately, that is going to lead to an eternity that won’t allow any “self-glorification” because God will not share His glory.
My 6 year old son loves Lego’s. He can sit for hours putting them together, taking them apart, and putting them together again. Right now his favorite is the Bulldozer from the City Series. But the one thing that I have noticed is that whenever he puts the bulldozer together, never once has the bulldozer talked back to my son and asked him why he built it with tracks, or with an engine. The created thing never has the right to ask the Creator why? Now, some would argue that since we are all a product of evolution, we don’t have a Creator so what I just said isn’t true. But is that the real truth? If we are the product of random chance and it is survival of the fittest (which is the basic premise of evolution), then we still don’t really have the ability to ask why because who do we ask. And, if it is survival of the fittest, why do we do everything in our power to prolong someone’s life? If you develop cancer, or heart disease, or anything else that is life threatening, that just means you were not “fit” enough, so you should just be allowed to die. But that isn’t how it works, is it?
Those far from God despise the Word, and that is just natural. What is un-natural is those who claim to be Christ followers who live their lives no different than the world. If, when we come to the Cross, our lives do not change, we truly haven’t “come to the Cross”. We are living a lie, believing a lie, and the Word says that no lair will have any place in the presence of our Creator. We need to take the Words of God (“revere” from the Scripture above) and bury them deep in our hearts and cherish them. Repentance at the cross is more than just saying that we are sorry for our sins. It means that we turn from our sins and confess that we don’t want to live that way anymore and then trust God to help us not live that way. He is more than willing to do that for us; it is His pleasure to do that for us, and it brings Him the greatest glory. We were created for His glory. We are to continually give Him glory. Are you glorifying Him?