You shall therefore love the Lord your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. (Deuteronomy 11:1)
What does it mean to keep something? Perhaps hoarding comes to mind, people keeping what they don’t need to keep. The television shows on hoarding serve as a reminder to all of us not to keep what is unnecessary. We don’t need to keep every piece of paper, every paper sack, every piece of mail. We need to keep what is worth keeping. We shouldn’t fill our lives with the unnecessary.
We don’t define what is unnecessary or necessary. God does. He decides how to fill our lives. He decides where space should exist and how and with what it should be filled. He defines what we keep, and it comes out of our love for Him.
To keep something is to continue having or holding something, to not return, lose, sell, give away, or throw it away. Because we love God, we keep what He says in our grasps, on our minds, and in our hearts. We keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. We don’t let go. We’re singled-minded.
When we love God and keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments in our grasp, we have to know Him. We have to become ever-more familiar with His charge, statutes, ordinances, and commandments, because keeping them isn’t a one-time grasp and hold. We can’t ever fully “grasp” God, let alone keep that grasp maintained. We grasp onto God as He has revealed Himself to us. And as we continue to seek Him, He continues to reveal Himself to us. He doesn’t grow or change; He changes and grows us.
Because of who God is, His charge, statutes, ordinances, and commandments come along with His love. We can’t separate them. We can’t love God and not keep His commandments. When we don’t keep God’s commandments, we don’t express our love for Him. It doesn’t mean we have no love for Him. We can love Him and seek Him yet let our desire for something else—comfort, ease, convenience, or so on—override our love. We can ignore or distort our love for Him.
We do it with others. We love people yet mistreat them. We ignore them. We put ourselves first. We choose to stay in our comfort zones. We choose not to sacrifice. Even worse, we twist it into our love for others, saying it’s actually part of the love we have for others.
Because we become accustomed to distorting love and what it means to keep the precepts of that love with others, we project the same onto our love relationship with God. We search His Word and find what we call uncertainties or discrepancies, so we can find support for what we most want to do instead of being challenged to do as God tells us to do. We invoke God’s name and say something isn’t God’s will when the truth is we haven’t seriously sought His will in the matter.
Keeping God’s charge, statutes, ordinances, and commandments means changing as God guides. Keeping means loving in relationship, which is active and alive. A love relationship isn’t something to be acquired or attained. It’s to be pursued and transformed.
To keep something also means to continue in a specified state, condition, or position. When we keep our love relationship with God, we keep changing, keep loving, keep seeking, keep obeying, keep trusting. Keeping a love relationship with God means continuing in a love relationship with God. No more checkboxes that you can accomplish and move on.
You know those reminders that pop up on your phone when you set them to mark a specific time to take medication, wake up from a nap, remember to pray, or meet a friend? Keeping God’s charge, statutes, ordinances, and commandments is like having a reminder ring on your phone every single second. It’s constant. That’s what a love relationship with God is.
Dear God, I want to be single-minded. I want to seek to know You more than anyone or anything in my life. And I want to keep Your charge, Your statutes, Your ordinances, and Your commandments. I don’t want to do so to be legalistic. I want everything to come out of my love for You, which comes from Your love for me. I trust You, Lord.