OBEDIENCE IS LOVE
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
Obedience to God’s commands comes from your heart. When you begin struggling to obey God, that’s a clear indication that your heart has shifted away from Him. Some claim, “I love God, but I’m having difficulty obeying Him in certain areas of my life.” That’s a spiritual impossibility. If I asked you, “Do you love God?” you might easily respond, “Yes.” However, if I asked you, “Are you obeying God?” would you answer yes as quickly? Yet I’d be asking you the same question!
Genuine love for God leads to wholehearted obedience. If you told your spouse that you loved her at certain times but that you struggled to love her at others, your relationship would be in jeopardy. Yet we assume God’s satisfied with occasional love or partial obedience. He isn’t.
Obedience without love is legalism. Obedience for its own sake can be nothing more than perfectionism, which leads to pride. Many conscientious Christians seek to cultivate discipline in their lives to be more obedient to Christ. As helpful as spiritual disciplines can be, they can never replace your love for God. Love is the discipline. God looks beyond your godly habits, beyond your moral lifestyle, and beyond your church involvement and focuses His penetrating gaze on your heart.
Has your worship become empty and routine? Have you lost your motivation to read God’s Word? Has your prayer life been reduced to a ritual? These are symptoms of a heart that’s shifted away from God. You can’t be close to God without being affected by His love. Love is the greatest motivation for a relationship with God and for serving Him.
The Heavenly Father loved His Son with an eternal love. Everything in the Father’s heart and life was released to His Son. As the Father expressed His love for a broken and sinful world, this passion was manifested through the life of His Son. The Father initiated His plan to save humankind, and from a heart of devotion the Son accepted the assignment that took Him to the cross.
As Jesus walked among people, the Father’s love filled His Son. Jesus recognized that no ordinary love could motivate Him to go to the cross. No human love could keep Him perfectly obedient to His Father throughout His life. Only His Father’s love was powerful enough to compel Him to commit His life to the saving purpose of His Father.
Jesus prayed that God would place this same love in His disciples (see John 17:26). He knew no other motivation would be sufficient for the assignments God had for them. God’s answer was to place His Son in them. It’s impossible for a Christian to be filled with this measure of love and not to be on mission with God.
You’ll be incapable of ministering to everyone God sends to you unless you have His love. You can’t forgive others, go the extra mile with others, or sacrifice for others unless you’ve first been filled with the boundless love of God. Seek to know the Father and His immeasurable love; then allow His Son to love others through you.
What does your current obedience reveal about your love for and relationship with God? (Review your response to yesterday’s scale.)
How does God’s love for you affect your thoughts, decisions, and behavior? How does your love for God influence your thoughts, decisions, and behavior?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]