Obedience Is Love
If you love me, obey my commandments. -John 14:15
God isn’t saying, in this verse, that His love for us is contingent on our obedience. No, God loves us even when we don’t obey Him. His love is so strong for us that when we were still sinners He sacrificed His only son to bring us closer to Him, forgiving our sins and making it possible for us to spend eternity with Him. God’s love for us is not based on our actions, but our love for Him is. If we truly love Him, we will obey His commands.
But I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come let’s be going. -John 14:31
Our faith is carried out through our actions. Our obedience to God’s commands is proof of our love and reverence for God. When we do what He asks we are saying we believe in Him. Take your own children’s behavior, for example. When they don’t listen, when they choose to disobey what are your first thoughts? I tend to think they are disrespectful, they don’t trust me and that they are selfish. The same goes for us when we don’t listen to God. We come across just as our children do when they don’t listen to us.
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. -John 14:23-24
If you are like me, these words are hard to swallow. I think back on all the times I disobey and I am deeply saddened. Thankfully, God’s Word for us is not to condemn us and make us feel so bad that we get discouraged, but to encourage us to keep working towards a deeper relationship with Him. We can only know God when we are in His Word. Knowing God takes effort but it also guides us to obedience in Him. How well we know Him is also evident in our actions. Disobedience to God’s Word tells the world that we don’t know Him. Worry says we don’t trust Him, selfishness says we don’t believe He will help us, hating others and harboring bitterness says we don’t believe that He will take care of our situation. Disobedience to God, ignoring His promises to be there for us, to fight for us, to love through us, says that we don’t know God and we don't love Him, at least like we thought we did.
And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commands. -1 John 2:3
And so obeying God’s commands and spending time with Him aren’t things we do to get our place in heaven. Jesus Christ has already done that hard work for us. No, obedience to God is just a reminder to those around us, and to Him, that we are all in, that we love Him, and we know Him well. Obedience is a result of knowing God's commands. Loving God is what comes from knowing who He truly is in our life. Without obedience the world, and God, will question who we say that we are.
Abraham obeyed God and walked his son to a mountain where he built an alter for sacrifice. Abraham tied his son to the alter and was ready to kill him there all because His love for God was so abundant. His knowledge of God, and trust in His character allowed him to obey even through the unthinkable. And his love was proven on that mountain for an all powerful God, and a nation to see and grow from. His love lives on today and guides us to love in the same way.