1 John 2:3 “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”
When we speak, big words, little words, and even two-letter words like ‘if’ matter.
There is a vast difference between knowing God and knowing about God.
To know Him means I have a personal relationship. Knowing about Him is to say I have information that acquaints me with God without having a relationship.
Christianity is about a relationship, not a religion. The statement in our passage states ‘knowing that we know him,’ then joins the following thought with “if.” What follows becomes our responsibility.
“Keep his commandments.”
The call to obedience goes out to every child of God. The commandments are God’s boundaries set for us to live within His protection and provision.
Salvation came to us freely offered and freely given through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Everything else in the Christian life comes by way of “if, then.”
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
John 8:31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed“
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
There are so many other examples in the Word of God, so we continue.
In this passage, the word ‘if’ convicts me to move from knowledge to action based upon my desire.
If I want to know my Heavenly Father more, I must keep His commandments.
If I want to be forgiven, I must confess my sins.
If I want to have friends, I must show myself friendly.
Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
The more dangerous side of the word “if” is when it is put together with “what.”
“What if…” has literally halted good people from doing God’s will. It is part of our nature to know how a thing will go or what may become a situation or circumstance. My work with people who have stubborn habits and addictions has taught me that part of their selfish behavior is the desire to control.
Controlling people, outcomes, and even God becomes opportunities for our enemy to place us in bondage. People of faith cannot live that way.
God has a plan for each and every one of us.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
It becomes our responsibility to find out what it is we are to do for today. Often, we look too far down the road and are overwhelmed by what we think God desires us to do.
“What if” opens the door for doubt, worry, and fear and sets the stage for failure based on what we think we can do in the flesh.
Faith says, “I cannot see the outcome or how this will come about, but I am trusting God to see me through.” It is not blind faith, but one that engages what we’ve been given (gifts and talents) and offers it to God as a tool to be placed in His hand.
“What if” is silenced with what we know about our Father. The more I know, the more I trust. The more I know, the more evidence is gathered of God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and power.
If God has done something in the past, I am more confident that He will do it again. Let us take up the challenge to:
Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”