UV 2818/10000 Pattern of the Perfecting of Faith
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
I John 2 v 5
As we read, hear, memorise, remember, meditate and keep recalling and trusting the word, obeying the commandments of God, claiming and trusting in His promises, diligently following His precepts and principles in all of our ways, the agape love of God is formed in us and it is shaped and perfected over time. The word which is a spiritual sword keeps cutting our egos till our conceit, pride and vanity dies. The word also shapes our appetite, our desires so that what is ungodly and not pleasing to the Lord are removed from our lives. When we abide in the Word which means living by what the word teaches us, the Triune God is pleased with us. He will come to us, abide with us or live with us and in us and manifest His grace and power in our lives.
Keeping His word also means being faithful to His testimonies and judgements in our lives. Testimonies are oral evidence based on our experiences. We need to speak of our experiences of the love of God. Judgements are the corrections we have received from the Lord over time. We need to conform to these admonitions, warnings and promptings often received through our mentors or directly whispered into our lives by the Holy Spirit. Traditions, however, even of the church, are a poor substitute for the Word and often it robs the Word of its power to shape and perfect our love of God. Without a constant intake of the Word, our faith would be dry and lifeless. With it, our faith will grow and mature into love. All of the fruit of the spirit is present in the characteristics of love described by St Paul in Chapter 13 of the first letter to the Corinthian church. But all the characteristics are not manifested in us at one go but built into the pattern of our lives a little by little and characteristic by characteristic over the course of our lives. The process is expedited by the pace at which we absorb the Word and obey it.
The book of Ecclesiastes interestingly states that “ he who keeps His commandments shall feel no evil thing. He discerns both time and judgement.” It implies that when we keep the word, we receive the spirit of discernment and we will know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Our decisions and choices are guided and shaped by the Holy Spirit. The process of perfecting us is lifelong and over time, the Lord sanctifies us and frees us from the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life and instead fills us with His love. The Lord removes the hindrances in our hearts to loving Him with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength and loving our neighbour as ourselves. Our faith is completed and brought to fruition by His love. If faith is the root, love is the fruit. If faith is the foundation, love is the superstructure.
Prateep V Philip