A significant dynamic in my journey with Jesus Christ is knowing and experiencing the great and lavish love I receive from our Father who is in heaven.
My dilemma is how does love fit with obedience?
The title of this blog is 1 John 3:1 “see what great love The Father has lavished on us”. We believers freely receive this love as grace. We read in John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” And this asks the question: Do we freely receive this love? Or, do we receive this love as we keep the commands of Jesus?
Focus with me on John 14:23-24: We’re looking into the relationship between being loved by Jesus and keeping the words of Jesus.
Jesus answered him,“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. John 14:23-24
God is Love
Everything in Christianity begins and ends with God. God is love, or maybe we could say love is God. Much that we call love is sentiment and feeling based, or just lust. We control others from fear and call it love. We hide our real self and call it love. God’s love is not like this.
Maybe this is why we struggle to be loved by God, and I think most of us do struggle to freely receive God’s love for us. We wonder what his hidden agenda is? We believe his love towards us will change, after all its just sentimental feeling. We are expecting his love to control us, because that’s how we’ve experienced love.
Please hear with your heart the next words I write: God’s love is freely given and is completely for our good. His love will not change; and will not force itself on us or force us to change. It is freely given and freely received.
We receive the love of God by faith. So to have faith is to let God love us. Faith is letting Jesus be ‘who he is’ in our lives. He has made an offer to us and we say, let it be so in me, this is faith. As we let God love us through Jesus Christ, this love powerfully works in us to make us children of God, not of a human decision but born of God. In fact we are born of the same life seed as Jesus Christ. (John 1:12-13, 1 John 3:1, 1 Peter 1:23)
Now the dilemma: how does love fit with obedience?
I see this clearer now. There is no dilemma! I am new person in Christ, I have new life within me, born in me by the love of God. So now I keep the words of Jesus from faith that wants to keep in love with Jesus. That’s it! My obedience is being who I am as child of God.
I don’t keep his words to gain credit, to achieve standing with God, to relieve feelings of guilt, or from fear of punishment. All these motivations would tell me that I am not clearly seeing God’s great love for me demonstrated in Jesus Christ.
Love is obedience
In John 14:24 the telling phrase for is: ‘Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.’ Religion will try to get people to keep their interpretation of Jesus words. It focus’s on obedience, doing the right thing just because the bible says so. The bible is telling us that when we don’t keep the words of Jesus it’s a love problem not an obedience problem. Therefore our response is: How can I see God’s love for me? Not, How can I obey better? Because as I receive his love for me I will be obedient to that love.
Do you need to stop trying to obey, and focus on growing our being in the love of God?
When we keep Jesus words from seeing the great love the Father has lavished on us, those words are beautiful, freeing and incredibly helpful; and the power we need to keep them comes with them. It’s in being loved.
I’m going to find scriptures on God’s love and goodness.Scriptures like: Lamentations 3:22-23, Romans 5:5-8, Ephesians 3:14-19. Then I will work at growing an unconscious confidence in God’s great love for me. As I meditate on these verses I will expect the Holy Spirt to be working them like yeast through my soul and Spirit so I grow in loving God as He loves me.
I am his child who keeps the words of Jesus because that’s how I grow in the love of God.
Will you join me?
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