If Love Me, Keep my Commandments
John 14:15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.
Obedience for a believer who is growing in the knowledge and grace of God is more of a desire than obedience. If you are born of God and abiding in His Word, your desire to do His will is strengthening because you are growing in love with Him.
It is important to recognize the ones maturing are the ones who experience this desire and not the burden of obedience. Many Christians aren’t growing and still think and act like carnal men. Therefore deep down they don’t desire the ways of God. They may act certain ways because they feel they have to but it is out of pure obedience and not love. Romans 8:7 What they have is a religion of rules and not a relationship of love. They lack a strong inner spirit to walk as a free spiritual being who isn’t rule bound but love bound. 1 John 2:5 Unfortunately, those rule bound people who think they are mature can be quite destructive and misleading to others about what the Christian faith is all about.
Kids are given the rule, don’t run into the street, because they can’t yet grasp the deeper truth that running into the street means you might get killed. It is the same with an immature spirit – all they can grasp are rules so they cling to them. But staying in this condition isn’t what God intended when He sent Christ to us. God desires a bride in love with Him and following Him because of love not a maidservant following the rules because that is what you should do.
This is why in the verse above love comes first. Obedience as God desires, with our hearts not just our actions, has to come from love not brute discipline. When we love Him, we want to follow Him.
Because Christ stands in our place, we have completely fulfilled the law now and always as He did. Covered in grace, we could go about sinning – however if you are truly born of God that isn’t your desire. Romans 6:14-16 You desire what God does because now you are a part of Him. God took care of our sin at the cross. Being free from the judgment of sin, the lessons of our lives are about walking in God’s will because that fosters intimacy and love with Him. He teaches and leads us down paths to accomplish that closeness; paths that instruct us what is His way and what isn’t. When He reveals a path we are walking that is counter to His, it isn’t to condemn us we have already been judged in Christ – it is to lead us closer to Him because sin distances us from being united to Him in truth, love and will.
And at its core, His will is about love, loving Him and loving others. Every command of God is what it is because that is the most loving thing to do. As a maturing believer you desire to grow in love – not a love of this world but a love beyond what we as flesh humans are capable of. John said that by our love others would know we are His – that means it is a love that mere men aren’t capable of giving – otherwise why would it set us apart? John 13:35
God’s love is much greater than ours. Most of us assume we know what love is, but what we know is a tainted version of His. We have to seek what is true love and what isn’t. And from what I am learning it is beyond what I ever considered as loving. The extent of His love – just the purity and selflessness alone and what that looks like in my day to day – is amazing. As you grow in love you begin to understand the depth and the reasons behind His commands and you desire to walk in them.
If you love God you want to do His commands of love therefore they aren’t burdensome. 1 John 5:3 If you want to do something it isn’t a burden but a joy. This is the experience for those spiritually maturing. It isn’t about following the law, trying to be perfect, or following some rules. It is about seeking God’s heart in each situation with a desire to love others with the power of His love flowing through you. You aren’t focused on following rules. You understand that Christ is your righteousness so you cease from trying to earn your own. You do what you do because you want to. And the closer we draw near to God the more this desire grows.
Since I started seeking God, I have seen this transformation in myself. It doesn’t happen over night it is a process of growing in love with Him by spending time with Him. From that time comes a true desire to follow Him. I want to do His will. It isn’t that I’m not tempted. I am. We all get blindsided by our Mr. Hyde personas – but the Spirit waves a flag shows me how that isn’t the most loving thing to do and I think oh, yeah, I don’t want to do that.
If we love God then we will obey Him because we desire to abide in His love. John 15:10