Any relationship that is one-sided will eventually fizzle up and die. There has to be some measure of reciprocity between two people. However, God’s love towards us is not dependent on our behavior or character. His love is always focused on us as the object of His love (Eph 1:3-6 MSG), no matter what. Nothing can separate us from that love (Rom 8:35). God is always in relationship with us.
Our experience of our relationship with God, can however fizzle. If the relationship is one-sided, from God’s side, and there is no response from us.
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 behavior. God’s economy does not work like that. He first loved and accepted us, and now seeks to have a relationship with us. Then from this deep, intimate love-relationship, we get to respond to His love in obedience.
Obedience becomes a love-response to God, not a requirement of love.
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 though, is not about keeping commands and rules.
Loving Jesus is about treasuring Him above all others, 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. We need to love Him like this before we can respond to Him in love.
We then respond and actively demonstrate this love for Him, by our obedience to His word and commands.
Our obedience is the result of loving Him, it is not the same as loving Him. In fact, if you love me, the result will be, that you obey me.
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.”
- Obedience deepens our relationship with God. A gift we bring Him from our love. (John 14:23)
- Obedience results in further blessing flowing to us, there is no disappointment in obedience. (Deut 11:13)
- 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.”
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, long to walk in Your ways and follow Your example.