August 9, 2016
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 9 August 2016
American novelist Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) wrote a chronicle with regard to life in Maine, which she titled The Country of the Pointed Firs. Her work describes a woman visiting the home of a retired sea captain named Elijah Tilley. Walking the pathway to the captain’s home, the woman noticed several colored stakes in the ground that appeared to be scattered randomly. Each stake was painted white and trimmed in yellow, which were the same colors of the captain’s home. Curious, the woman asked the captain, “What are the painted stakes for, down in the field?” The captain replied,
“Folks laughed at me when I first bought this place an’ come here to live. . . .” “They said ’twa’n’t no kind of a field privilege at all; no place to raise anything, all full o’ stones. . . . You never see a prettier piece than ’t is now; now did ye? Well as for them painted marks, them ’s my buoys. I struck on to some heavy rocks that did n’t show none, but a plow’d be liable to ground on ’em, an’ so I ketched holt an’ buoyed ’em same ’s as you see. They don’t trouble me no more ’n if they wa’n’t there” [(Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1896), 193].
The captain set the colored stakes where the rocks were to avoid them in the future. In a similar manner, this is what God has done with the commandments of Scripture. God’s commands are “stakes in the ground” (so to speak) to warn you and I as to where are the true dangers in life. Similar to the hidden rocks, which were snagging the captain’s plow, we may not perceive the dangers that result when we are disobedient to God’s Word. However, when we heed the “stakes” that God has given, we avoid troubles in the present and in the future.
“God is love” (4:8), and for this reason, He gave “His commandments” for our benefit. Consequently, if you and I love God, we will strive to please Him and to demonstrate our gratitude for his commandments, which is not only for our benefit, but also pleasing to the Lord. First John 5 emphasizes love for God – as demonstrated by obedience – and the fact that “His commandments are not burdensome.”
The initial part of 1 John 5:3 restates old truth; however, the second part is new. Hearing the word “obey” does not always result in a cheerful reaction. Therefore, with profundity, we read, “His commandments are not burdensome.” Of course, obeying the commandments of God is not always the easiest action because it is easier to disobey. Nevertheless, if obeying God’s Word is more difficult than disobeying, then the detriment will come easier because sin always makes one a debtor, which is why Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:30). When the debt to sin is paid, we can say that it would have been much easier not to sin. Ultimately then God’s “commandments are not burdensome.”
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” Therefore, heeding God’s Word makes the Christian’s life easier. “Our faith” is the basis for victory. The Christian is victorious over the world as a result of having faith/trust in Jesus (5:4). Those who do not believe/trust do not have victory because they do not believe “that Jesus is the Son of God” (5:5).
Do you have struggles? Do you want victory? Do not rely upon yourself. Do not rely upon your attainments. Do not rely upon your past accomplishments. Do not rely upon partisan membership. Rely upon Jesus! If you have anything but faith/trust in Him, you will ultimately fail. True, enduring victory comes by relying upon God’s Word and God’s Son.
Your Capitol Missionary-Pastor,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia
Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.