It’s quite common to hear Christians or theological students or even pastors saying something like, “It’s not easy to be a Christian” or “It’s not easy to obey God’s Word” or “It’s difficult to keep His commandments.” When we say that, are we expressing the truth or are we going against the truth? I believe this kind of saying is not expressing the truth but going against the truth unknowingly and habitually.
Therefore, for the past two years or so, I have been preaching the most important message in many churches: “Not difficult to obey God’s Word,” based on Deuteronomy 30:11-14. Therefore, I also want to pen the truth here to encourage you. For many years, I had known Apostle John’s saying in 1 John 5:3 “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.
And his commands are not burdensome” John clearly pointed out that God’s commands are not burdensome or not difficult to obey. That was in New Testament. But to read something similar in the Old Testament was astounding to me when I was reading and pondering upon Deuteronomy one morning two years ago. Moses said, “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” (30:11)
Moses was preaching the commandments of God in the whole book of Deuteronomy. Before the end of the book, he taught the people of Israel that it was not too difficult to obey God’s commands.
Why is it not difficult to obey God’s Word? Listen to Moses’ explanation: “No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” (Deut 30:14) The Word is neither up in heaven nor beyond the sea (30:12-13) but in our mouth and heart. Everybody can obey! In Romans 10, Apostle Paul used the very words of Moses in explaining our salvation: “9 Because if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 Trusting with the heart leads to righteousness, and confessing with the mouth leads to salvation.”
Is it difficult to be saved? Not at all! Simply confess with mouth and trust in heart!
Is it difficult to live victoriously or to experience full salvation then? Not at all! Simply have faith in the Son of God as pointed out by Apostle John in 1 John 5: “4 because everyone who is born from God defeats the world. And this is the victory that has defeated the world: our faith. 5 Who defeats the world? Isn’t it the one who believes that Jesus is God’s Son?”
We need to change our mindset from thinking that it’s difficult to obey God’s Word to it’s NOT difficult to do so by the power of God as we trust in our heart and confess with our mouth. This change of mindset will not only transform our lives but also our ministry (such as teaching and preaching) to be Gospel-oriented, Christcentered, and Spirit-empowered to transform God’s people as well. When we as teacher and preacher of God’s Word think and say the truth that it is NOT difficult to obey God’s Word, God’s people will also follow in the same thinking and saying.
By Rev Dr Tie King Tai