“The wise of heart will receive commandments.” (Proverbs 10:8)
Do you enjoy being “casual” in your attire or with your speech? It used to be that people were fairly formal most of the time at work and social events and enjoyed relaxing with family or friends casually. Today, casual is the new normal, including but not limited to casual clothing, casual notes over social media, casual messaging, and casual dating, and even casual sexual relationships. The danger of being too casual is that we presume to know other people, and God when we don’t know them very well. On February 3rd, we considered Proverbs 9:10, which says that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” If we take the statement literally, fearing God is only the beginning of wisdom or the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). But then Solomon goes on to say that having knowledge of God produces insight; like knowing a family member well gives us insight into their character.
Merriam Webster’s online dictionary definition of casual includes: subject to, resulting from, or occurring by chance; occurring without regularity; met with on occasion; known only superficially; and feeling or showing little concern. Using these definitions, we can see that there is an obvious risk of approaching God casually. One difficulty is that one cannot know God well and casually at the same time. The true God of the Bible is never informal or easy-going. He takes his creation, his creatures, sin, forgiveness, and himself very seriously. Therefore, those who seek to know him, to have insight and wisdom, must also take him seriously.
Those who have an informal view of God do not take his commandments solemnly. Many profess to know God but are determined to know only those aspects of God’s character which they find useful. To these, the writer of Hebrews declares, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.” God’s law says, “Be holy as I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16). Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17)
Is having a wise heart for God more important to you than being casual? Will you embrace the Holy Spirit’s help to treasure God’s commandments in your heart?