“Obedience flows from genuine love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 29, 2022
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8
Years ago, while talking with a young woman I was mentoring, we read John together which says, “If you love me you will keep my commands” (John 14:15, NASB).
“That sounds really horrible,” she said. “It sounds manipulative.”
Certainly, if we read Jesus’ words from a human perspective, it does sound like “mean Jesus.” But this view is contrary to the character of God, which is love. God is love and in Him there is no darkness. (1 John 1:5)
What Jesus was saying in this verse is that keeping His commands (and even doing good works) is a direct result of the love we have for him, not how we try to earn His favor.
Imagine the wife who loves her husband. Because of her love, she wants to serve and bless her man. She feeds him, comforts him, supports him, and partners with him.
So, what does it mean to love God and how do we show that love? We keep his commands.
But just because we keep His commands does not mean we love Him. Genuine obedience needs to be done out of our right heart, otherwise, we just become legalists. The right actions done with the wrong heart don’t earn God’s approval.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, to set people free from the bondage that comes from “do this, don’t do that” way of living. He came so that we could have a connected relationship with Him and the Father based on love, not on works.
When asked what the greatest command is, Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30-31). Jesus didn’t say He wants us to obey Him with all our hearts because He knows that when we love Him, we will naturally obey Him. Obedience flows from genuine love.
Good works and obedience are not how we earn favor with God. We don’t have to work to make Him love us. We already have favor with Jesus and love from Him because of what He did on the cross. Good works and obedience are simply proof we love God, just as a loving wife’s actions prove her loving heart toward her husband.
“As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26).
Lord, help me to love you more and more so that I will want to obey you more and more. You deserve all praise and all my obedience and adoration. I love you! Amen.
Google “scriptures about God’s love for me” and then talk with the Lord about His love for you.
Steven Curtis Chapman: It’s All About Love
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