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In the Gates

Always Vigilant

We must watch our hearts with all diligence.

The Rule of God’s Law: First Things (21)

Click here to watch a brief video introducing this week’s study. This week’s video is the same as for lesson 2.

“Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”Deuteronomy 12.32

The heart, as we have seen, is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer. 17.9). Yet we must love God with all our heart, and to aid us in this calling He has provided His Law, and His Spirit and a new heart, so that we might learn and obey God’s Law as He intends (Ezek. 36.26, 27).

But we must “be careful” with respect to what the Law teaches, so that we allow it to exercise its full power to shape our hearts in the way of love for God and our neighbors. And, since on our own we have no heart for God or His Law, we must rely on the indwelling Spirit of Christ to help us in carrying out this call to vigilance.

The Law of God anticipates the day when God would “circumcise” the hearts of His people so that they would understand and obey His Law (Deut. 30.1-10). That day, as we have previously explained, dawns upon us with the coming of the Spirit of God to dwell within us. He will teach us the Law of God, and all the Word of God, but we must “show up for class” if we would benefit from His instruction. And we must also cultivate the ability to listen for the convicting voice of the Spirit as He searches our hearts and minds against the presence of any evil that might be lurking there (Jn. 16.8-11; Ps. 139.23, 24).

The more we are filled with the Spirit of God and walk in Him (Gal. 5.16-23), the more we will strengthen our hearts to bring forth the fruit of His presence and to realize the promises of God in our lives. We must be careful not to quench the Spirit by failing to submit to His curriculum. And we must not grieve the Spirit by not seeking to fulfill the purposes for which He has been given to us (1 Thess. 5.19; Eph. 4.30).

The Spirit of God is the Guardian and Teacher of God’s Law. When He is also the Guardian and Teacher of our hearts, then we will grow in love for God and neighbor from this deepest and most important recess of our souls.

Next steps – Conversation: How much do you understand about how the Spirit of God works within us to make us willing and able to do what pleases the Lord (Phil. 2.13)? Review all the passages cited in today’s column, then talk with a Christian friend about this question.
T. M. Moore

The Law of God is the soil which, fertilized by the rest of God’s Word and watered by His Spirit, brings forth the fruit of the Christian life. If you’d like to understand this process better, and how to make best use of the Law in your walk with and work for the Lord, order the book, The Ground for Christian Ethics, from our online store.

We’re happy to provide In the Gates and other online resources at no charge. If this ministry is helpful to you, please consider joining those who support our work financially. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Dr., Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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