Indicatives and Imperatives

Jamie Smith, the gifted and wise Women's Ministry and Discipleship Director at Perimeter Church taught me how to search Scripture for indicatives and imperatives.

This tool can energize your time with the Lord because it redirects your focus to God who empowers us to live as He commands.

Think back to those grammar school days...An imperative sentence gives a command. In Scripture, an imperative is a command from God. Can you think of any imperatives in Scripture? The Ten Commandments may come to mind or perhaps verses like Philippians 2:3 - "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

The danger of studying the imperatives without looking for the indicatives is that you can easily become overwhelmed, defeated, and works-oriented. Your time with the Lord is miserable because all you see is how you don't measure up and how you continually let the Lord down by failing to obey Him. The evil side will often use these feelings of defeat to mar God's character in your mind. He is no longer a loving Father but a strict disciplinarian with high expectations who is disappointed in you. And with feelings like that, it is easy to give up wanting to spend any time in the Word at all!

Praise God for the indicatives! The indicatives are the parts of Scripture that empower the imperatives. Again, in those grammar school days, the indicative sentences make a statement; they tell us what is already true. Behind every imperative (command) in Scripture is an indicative (truth) reminding us that GOD has already finished all the work that is to be done (remember Jesus' final words on the cross?). The TRUTH empowers us to obey the commands, not out of necessity or obligation, but out of love and gratitude for what God has already done for us through His Son Jesus on the cross.

If you read Scripture and feel defeated, perhaps you are focusing on the imperatives without appreciating the indicatives. So as you dig into the Word, when you come across an imperative command, stop and find the indicative truth around it. It is there. On the Pita Pockets blog I've posted an example for you to see. May your time with Him fill your soul just as a loaf of fresh bread would fill your tummy. Happy Hunting!