OBEDIENCE IS THE EVIDENCE OF LOVE

Bible Reading: John 14:15-26

If you love me keep my commandments” [John 14:15 NKJV]

Jesus replied, “All who love Me will do what I say” [John 14:23 NLT]

Undoubtedly obedience is the language of love, and obedience is the key to enjoying God’s blessing. Jesus said, “If you love me keep my commandments” [John 14:15]. Sadly, this has normally been understood to mean, “By keeping my commandments you prove that you love me.” This is not what Jesus meant. In the margin of my Bible there is an alternative rendering, which adds the words “you will”, and it should read, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” It is not so much a case of I must obey Him but rather that because I love Jesus I cannot help but obey Him. Love, not obedience, is the basis of relationship. The power of our love for Jesus causes us to obey Him. It is the expulsive power of a new affection.

There are two specific kinds of obedience that God’s Word speaks of in relation to Him. Firstly, obedience to God’s written Word. God’s Word is clear and so many of our problems would be solved if we would simply obey what God’s Word tells us. Secondly, we need to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. There is a direct connection between God giving a person the Holy Spirit and obedience. “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him” [Acts 5:32]. Some people have the idea that you can have the Holy Spirit and do as you please, but this is not the case. We are to obey Him. Furthermore, one of the evidences that a person is a child of God is that they are led by the Spirit of God” [Romans 8:14].

For some people, obedience is difficult to handle! To them it means towing the line, submitting to authority, or doing what you are told. In modern society we have come to equate obedience less with love and more with authority. John, however, more than any other Gospel writer emphasized love, and yet more than any other spoke about obedience! The two go together [John 14:15, 21, 23-24; 15:10].

Love is the greatest thing of all. It is greater than faith or hope [1 Cor. 13:13]. Everything we do should issue out of love, our relationship to the Lord, our service for Him, and our obedience to Him. Writing in his first epistle John says, “His commandments are not burdensome to us.” [1 John 5:3].

Questions:

Why do you think it is that in modern society we have equated obedience with submission rather than love?

What does it mean to you personally to be led by the Spirit of God?

Why is it so important to understand that our love relationship with Jesus is the basis of everything else that we do?

What do you think it means to be obedient to the Holy Spirit?