I borrowed this book from Aaron based on his review.

It took a while for me to read through this book. I actually learned a lot, in fact, gained a few life-changing insights. But it was just too heavy to face all my failings of these impossible commands, and having to confess my sins throughout the reading. I appreciate Christ and my salvation more as I see the high standards expected of us. Christ met all these impossible commands, and his righteousness is imputed to me. That’s impossible grace.

The way the author explained the concepts touches the heart and motives. I jotted down some points I want to remember:

God gives us the ability to obey his commands.

Interesting look at Lazarus when Jesus COMMANDED a dead man to come out of the tomb. How does he expect a dead guy to obey that command?? It’s an impossible command! In order for Lazarus to obey Jesus, Jesus would have to enable him, give him the power to obey.

Similarly, when God gives us commands, he also gives us the power to obey them.

Eight impossible commands were covered:

Love the Lord, always – Similar to loving your spouse, it’s not always a feeling but who we choose to love exclusive of others. What idols and other loves do we need to put to death in order to love God? Col 3:5

Rejoice in the Lord, always – Joy does not belong in the “feeling” bucket; it belongs in the “action” bucket. Jesus died for our joy John 17:13. Habakuk, my favorite book, rejoices in the midst of the worst case scenario Hab 3:17-18. Do I practice defiant joy by faith in the midst of suffering?

Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect – God is only one who can make us perfect. He did that through Jesus. Perfection is not a target we aim for but a gift we receive. It’s a standard Jesus has met and welcome us in. Pursue holiness without guilt.

Do not be afraid – Replace fear with a greater fear of God. Lift your eyes beyond the anxiety and see the greatness of God. He is far bigger than anything or anyone that we are afraid of.

Love one another – “Reactive” love is loving something we would naturally love. Active love is loving the unlovely – an impossible command. We love freely because Jesus loved us and we are freed from sin. The more we know who we are in Christ, the more we are free to love. Love takes risk to go outside and across the room. Maximal love is doing more than minimum. This hit home with me because I don’t love maximumly.

Give cheerfully – Everything we have belongs to God. We think of success as accumulating more so we can retire in luxury. That’s what the rich man in Luke 16 thought. His story could’ve ended well if he had given some of his riches away instead of building more barns. I liked the way the author wrote an alternative ending. It made me think what ending I will choose.

Be completely humble – Choose to be in the back of the line. It will free you up from striving. I like this picture as I am that person who tries to get ahead in the queue.

Run away – We will not naturally run away from an attractive sin unless we are attracted to a greater love. Ask God to turn our love from sinning to love him.

Joyless obedience is legalism. Careless disobedience is libertarianism. Joyful obedience is to take God’s commands seriously at the same time delight in God’s grace and forgiveness.

We can obey impossible commands with 4 steps – Admit I can’t, confess I’m sorry, ask God please help, then Let’s go to do it. No excuses.

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