Any human relationship that is one-sided will eventually fizzle up and die.  A one-sided relationship means that one party is committed more, doing more, giving more, investing more.  We would all agree that there has to be some measure of reciprocity between two people to have a healthy relationship.

However, when it comes to God, God’s love towards us is not dependent on our behavior or our character.

God Is Love

His love is always focused on us as the object of His love (Eph 1:3-6 MSG), no matter what.  It does not matter to God whether we love Him back, whether it is all coming from His side, or not.  His love is part of His character; it is His nature to love and His love is focused on loving us.  His love does not change whether we love Him or not.

Scripture says that nothing can separate us from the love of God, God is always in a love-relationship with us.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35; 38-39)

However, our experience of our relationship with God, can fizzle.

We may feel that we cannot experience or even see His love, but scripture is very clear that nothing can alter God’s love for us.  We may argue that we don’t deserve His love, or that He has withdrawn His love from us, but that is contrary to scripture.  God’s love for us does not change.

The question is not whether God loves us, the question is are we loving Him?

God gives us guidance in scripture as to how we can respond to His love. John 14:15 tells us:

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Obedience is the way we reciprocate God’s love to us

We often think that we have to be obedient to God’s commands before He will love us, since in our world, love and approval is often conditional of our compliant behavior.  But in God’s economy it does not work like that.  He first loved and accepted us, and made provision for our sin in the death of Jesus on the cross.  His righteousness now covers our sin and makes it possible for us to have a love-relationship with Him.  Then from this deep, intimate love-relationship with Him, we get to respond to His love in obedience.

Obedience becomes a love-response to God, not a requirement we have to fulfil in order for God to love us.

This link of love and obedience is repeated four times in John 14, in verses 15,21,23 and 24.  Every verse is linked to “keeping his commandments” or “keeping his word.”

Loving Jesus therefore, is not about keeping commands and rules. 

Loving Jesus is about treasuring Him above all others. It means abiding in Him, longing for Him, delighting in Him, enjoying Him and finding satisfaction in Him.  Loving Him is all about being in a love relationship with Him. A two-sided healthy love relationship. We need to love Him like this before we can respond to Him in love.

Obedience without love is just sticking to rules.  But if you love Him first, it generates a response that actively lives in obedience to His word and commands, out of love for Him.

Our obedience is the action of loving Him, it is not the requirement to loving Him.

Indeed, by keeping the commandments, the love of God is perfected in us (I John 2:5-6).

“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

  1. Obedience deepens our relationship with God. A gift we bring Him from our love. (John 14:23)
  2. Obedience results in further blessing flowing to us, there is no disappointment in obedience. (Deut 11:13)
  3. Obedience blesses others, as well as ourselves. His commands are there for our protection and guidance, following them, produces blessing in our lives. (John 13:17)

Matt 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

It does not have to be a one-sided relationship between us and God.  We are able to love Him back and demonstrate this love for Him in obedience.

Father, help me to never forget that Your love for me is not dependent on my obedience, but that my obedience comes from my love for You.  Draw me closer to You in relationship.  Deepen my love for You, so that my heart would delight in following your commands and keeping your principles.  Let my love for You develop a longing in me to walk in Your ways and follow Your example.

Love Most Excellent

God is Disappointed with Me

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not