Alexander the Great is one of those historical figures about which enough stories are told to make you wonder if they are all true. My guess is that some of them really happened and some of them didn’t. With that in mind, I’ll offer one as part of this post.
As the story goes, after a long day’s battle with an enemy army, Alexander’s troops were encamped for the night awaiting a second round of battle the next day. As part of the night’s standing order, Alexander decreed that no fires could be lit. He didn’t want to give away his army’s location to any reinforcing troops that might be marching that night to join the enemy army.
However, as Alexander made his rounds to ensure that his order was being obeyed, he noticed a light in the tent of one of his officers. When he stepped inside the tent, he found the officer writing a letter. The officer, realizing the serious trouble he had made for himself, quickly began explaining that he had just recently gotten married and was writing a letter to his wife to let her know that he hadn’t gotten injured in the previous day’s battle. Alexander responded to the explanation by saying, “Then finish your letter, and add to it this postscript: ‘I am to be executed at dawn for disobeying orders.'”
I ask you, what if Jesus was like that concerning His commands to us? If He was, I dare say that not one person would be left alive to inhabit planet earth. That includes Christians, too. Think about how many times we all fail to do what Jesus commands us to do. Sometimes we fail because of slackness. Other times we fail because of outright disobedience. Either way, the end result is the same: disobedience to Christ’s commands.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, N.K.J.V.). In one way, that is a simple thing for Him to ask. In another way, though, it is a monumental assignment. After all, He does give a lot of commandments. Some of His commandments are general, standing ones found in scripture, but others are specific, personal commandments made to individuals by way of the voice of the Holy Spirit. At any rate, whatever the commandment is and however we receive it, Jesus expects us to keep it. Please remember this the next time you receive one from Him, and make sure you do a better job of obeying than that officer of Alexander the Great.