John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
I’ve always been cautious about telling God I love Him. Since He knows all things, He knows I don’t obey Him perfectly. Even as a new Christian in 6th or 7th grade, I always felt like a hypocrite if I were to mutter those words. The command in Matthew 5:48 ‘Be perfect, for I am perfect’ used to scare me.
As a more mature Christian, I now realize, this is not where the Lord wants me. He wants me to bask in His love and feel comfortable reciprocating. Knowing He’s not out to catch me in my hypocrisy, but to gently encourage and admonish me, comforts me.
As I grow in Christ, I hide in His grace. There, I realize He doesn’t expect perfection this side of eternity. We can’t run on fear, when God’s perfect love casts out all fear! (1 John 4:18) He doesn’t worry about our end state because He knows, as He is perfect, we also will be perfect. (1John 3:2-3) And since when did Jesus ever expect us to do good by our own power? (Romans 3:23). It is by His power we’re made perfect and blameless, for on our own we can do nothing. (Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Corinthians 3:5). Paul knew however, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13). And in this faith, we grow to be more like Christ as we get to know Him better.
God restores right relationship with Himself through the cross. He wants us. He wants our heart. Our allegiance and obedience follow by default, in an increasing manner.
What are the commandments spoken of in todays verse? – “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.”
Jesus said they’re summed up in these 2 commands:
Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
This reminds me of the conversation Jesus had with Peter, after Jesus raised from the dead. Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Jesus. Each time, Jesus said, ‘if you love me, feed my sheep’. That was Peter’s job in the kingdom. Jesus didn’t ask Peter, “are you going to do what I ask?” Jesus instead checked Peter’s devotion to Jesus, by Peter’s heart connection. (John 21:15-19)
Where our heart’s devoted, our actions are also.
There’s a small verse in the Bible that states, ‘above all else, guard your heart’. (Proverbs 4:23) Our hearts are for Him, because of His great love for us. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). My great inward need to honor Him comes from the reverence He instilled in my heart.
Now I can tell Him those 3 intimate words, ‘I love You’, for He covers me with His grace! He comforts me, graciously convicts me, teaches and guides me.
So, Do YOU love Jesus? It’ll be ok, because He loves us perfectly and tenderly. To know Him is to love Him. We’ll get there together!
Today, lets conclude with David’s prayer:
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.