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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 44 : Keep My Commandments | Day 308

Apply Commands With Wisdom!

A man was troubled by a large debt that he owed. The lender was putting pressure on him to pay it back, but he had no means with which to repay except for a piece of property that he owned. He sold the property, but instead of using the money to pay off his debt, he gave it to his church. His reasoning was based on the verse that says, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom” (Luke 6:38).

This debtor's actions were based on greed rather than love. He had hoped that by giving money to God, he would get back money to pay off his debt and more besides. He was trying to use one verse to "manipulate" God; yet, in the process, he violated several other Scriptural teachings. For instance, as long as he owed money, he was the slave of his creditor. (See Proverbs 22:7.) He had no authority to spend or give away assets until his debt was paid off.

Taking a command out of the context of love and the whole counsel of Scripture will result in misapplication, confusion, and disillusionment.

A wife who is being physically abused by her husband may think that she should just "take it" because of the verse that says, “And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other” (Luke 6:29).

However, there are several problems with this application. First of all, the man is her husband. He vowed to the Lord and to her in front of many witnesses that he would love and protect her--not beat and abuse her. Furthermore, if the children are also being abused, the command to not offend little ones is also being violated by the husband's actions and should be stopped. (See Matthew 18:6, 10.)

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).

Satan is very clever at taking one command of Christ and convincing us to apply it in a way that violates other commands. He tempted Jesus to obey one part of God's Word by casting Himself down. However, if Jesus had done this, He would have violated God's instruction: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (see Matthew 4:5-7).

This is why it is vitally important for us to be well acquainted with all of God's Word. In addition to this, we should hide Scripture in our hearts through memorization so that it will be readily available for the Holy Spirit to call to our remembrance in times of need. (See Psalm 119:11.)

For this week's journal entry, let's finish the lists begun in the e-mails for days 304 and 307, which reveal Christ in His commands and how we can keep them in love.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard