Love and Obedience – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15
We fool ourselves on this Ash Wednesday if we think our love for God and our obedience to Him are separate issues. They are two sides of the same coin. “if you love me, you will obey what I command” (vs.15). Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (vs.21). “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” (vs.23). “He does not love me will not obey my teaching” (vs.24). “The world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (vs.31). The belief that love and obedience are not related is epidemic among Christians. Would we say in our human relationships, I love my wife/husband but ignore most of what she/he says to me”?
The incongruity is clear in such a context. We have become so paranoid of having a theology of “righteousness = works” that we have ignored obedience altogether, as though it doesn’t matter to God. Jesus is clear that it does. Obedience is not our means to righteousness; it is the clearest expression of our devotion to Jesus. It is meaningful worship. When we are disobedient, we are saying that God’s word does not matter to us. That isn’t love. As Christians, we need to recover a desire for obedience as an expression of love for our Savior.
If we truly love Him, as we say we do, what He says will matter to us profoundly. We will not follow acceptable parts of His teachings and ignore the objectionable parts. We will not approach our relationship with Him as though we are trying to get by with the bare minimum behavioral change. We will devour His teachings, turning them over in our hearts, meditating on their applications, and living them as clearly as we can. This, according to Jesus, is what loving Him is all about. This is genuine worship.