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Commands or Promises?

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All His biddings are enablings.

The words of Jesus are unique, they are unlike the words of any other man. I may tell you, “Swim to shore,” but I can’t give your tired legs the energy to kick; I can’t keep your head above water. I can only describe, exhort, urge, command. I can try to convince, try to encourage, try to clarify, but I can’t keep you from drowning and I can’t empower you to swim.

But Jesus’ word empowers.

So he tells the crippled man, “Take up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8) But the man was paralyzed . . . so he couldn’t walk . . . which is why he was hanging out at the pool of Bethesda hoping for a miracle . . . But the words of Jesus were not empty exhortations or commands: in His bidding was the power to accomplish it. The paralytic man grasped that power by faith and he willed to stand. And just as surely as he willed, the power came, giving strength to his weak ankles and legs.

All His biddings are enablings.

So when Christ says to you, “Do not judge” (Matthew 7:1), He is not only instructing you but offering you power to live out this wisdom and truth, He is making available to you the power to see people without judgmentalism. And when He says, “Repent! (Turn around!)” there is more than command in those words—Jesus Himself is the Way to turn around and He gives you what you need in order to go a new way.

All the words of Christ, all the words of God, that we hear as commands we are prone to interpret as stern fiats, or perhaps as divine measuring sticks that tell us how high to jump. And truly God’s commandments are standards, and they are higher than we could ever conceive. Make no mistake about it: they are serious and they cannot be ignored or trifled with. But God’s commands are also promises. To the one who receives them in faith, the power to perform them will be granted. To she who gives up her own false power and casts herself on the power of the omnipotent Jesus, power will be granted.

All His biddings are enablings.” Ellen White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p331.

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Hello. My name is Kermit. I don't actually write for the Haystack. In fact, I have never eaten a haystack. I eat flies. I think those are unclean. And I date a pig too. Miss Piggy. She's nice.

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