(John 15:9-12 MSG) “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done – kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I have loved you.”
The idea of obedience has always left a bad taste in my mouth. I am leery of anyone who wants me to “obey” them. From my earlies years, I have found ways to skirt around obedience. As I was contemplating my approach to obedience, I was taken aback by the sudden realization that disobedience is what got us humans into trouble from the very beginning. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3:11) I think it is time for me to reevaluate the concept of obedience.
In John 15:9-12 Jesus makes a clear connection between love and obedience. If I keep his commands I’ll remain in his love. Then the reverse is true. If I don’t keep his commands, I will separate myself from him and set myself outside of his love. If I choose disobedience then separation and loss of love is also my choice. If I want to be like God and love like he loves, Jesus tells me that obedience to his commands is the key. I then have a love relationship with him that flow out of me to others.
I remind myself that when Adam and Eve first disobeyed God, they brought sin and death into the world. I indulge that devastation when I disobey Jesus’ command to love one another. Obedience from this vantage point gives me a whole new perspective, and it nurtures in me a true desire to be obedient. Unfortunately, a change in perspective is only a start, but it’s good to get started. To change my heart takes the Lord working in me. He and I have our work cut out for us.