Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
A connection exists between love and obedience. Jesus very clearly states that anyone who loves Him will obey His teaching. Jesus did not say “might obey, or should obey, or could obey.” He confidently implied that a natural consequence of loving Jesus is obeying Him.
Have you noticed how often passages about listening and obeying also reference the roles of the triune God? In the John 14 passage, for example, we see Jesus referring to the Father joining Him to make their home with the person who obeys. He also references that He is not speaking His own words, but the words that belong to the Father who sent Him. Then in verse 25-26, we see Jesus set up the Holy Spirit again by saying, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father [there He is again] will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jesus is passing the teaching baton to the Spirit and stating that once He leaves, the Father will yet again send just what His people need in the Spirit. We see them all working together and we see them listening to each other and complying with the Father. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are perfect models of how we should love God the Father by listening to Him and obeying His teachings.
As I have become a parent, God has instructed me on how to parent my children by asking me through His word and in my heart, “How do I parent you?” It changes how and why I discipline when I remember how and why God disciplines me. It changes how I discuss wrong choices when I remember how God deals with my wrong choices and addresses them in Scripture. You get the idea. The love and obedience package also makes an appearance in my home as I often tell my children that one way they can show love to mommy and daddy is by obeying us, by doing what we ask right when we ask. When viewed as a way of loving us, obedience becomes less about the rules and more about the relationship. They don’t understand this fully, yet, but we can as we interact with God.
God is more trustworthy than any parent and we can obey Him as an act of love more to maintain our relationship with Him than to simply appease or satisfy Him. Obedience keeps things good between God and us and keeps our feet from stumbling down paths they were never meant to travel. Embracing the dynamic duo of love and obedience is a win, win.
- What type of relationship do you truly desire to have with God?
- Are there past hurts from a parent/guardian that keep you from trusting God and therefore from obeying Him?
- How can you love God more deeply today by taking a step of obedience?