[Part IV in a series on Abiding in Christ]
Jesus wants us to love him! He tells his disciples that their obedience is the demonstration of their love for him. My obedience to Christ’s commands gives evidence to whether or not I am abiding in Him. Here are two excerpts from a previous blog series.
Jesus often talked about the Father demonstrating love for us. This may be the only time Jesus talked about us demonstrating love for him, so it is worth taking it to heart.
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21 ESV)
We can sing of our love to God. There is nothing wrong with that if it truly comes from our hearts. From a human perspective, hearing the words, “I love you,” when they are truly meant is one of the greatest joys to my soul. The absence of those words from our loved ones, especially our mothers and fathers, is often highly damaging to our souls. But how much more sweet and foundational is the demonstration of that love! That’s what Jesus is saying to us. Our love is demonstrated by our obedience.
Before we continue, it is important to avoid a common misperception about our obedience to God’s commands. Our obedience demonstrates our love. It in no way earns God’s love! Obedience is not out of compulsion or guilt or fear or trying to earn favor with God. All of that has been cared for by Jesus demonstrating his love for us. The Scriptures say, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV) We must remind ourselves of the gospel, daily, because our tendency is to get it backwards. (Herein lies a major role of the worship service: we sing the gospel, we are taught the gospel, we read it from the Scriptures, we act it out, we dance it out, we write it in our stories, we capture it in our films and on canvas. Why? In order to remember.) The gospel reminds us that obedience is our worship response to the unconditional, perfect love of our Heavenly Father. Obedience is the demonstration of our love, the expression of “I love you,” to the Lord. [from Loving God]
Obedience is part of the practical fruit that flows out of abiding in Christ. It is also fruit that we should ask God to produce in us! So we see the wonderful way that abiding, asking, loving and obeying are linked together. Our love for one another proves that we are Christ’s disciples. Our obedience proves to God that we love him. Love is fruit, in fact the first spiritual fruit listed in the Galatians 5:22,23 passage. Love and obedience are enabled and fueled by abiding in Christ and they are evidence that we are indeed abiding.
[from Loving God, Part 2] Back when our pastor, Gary Inrig, taught on John 14, I wrote a 3rd verse for the chorus, I Love You, Lord. I wanted a way to express my love for God through my desire to obey his commands. Dancer, Claire Peister, added some simple movement and we have used it in a few of our worship services since. It goes like this:
I love you Lord, so I will obey
And follow you as I live each day
Take joy my King, in this offering
May my life be the love song I sing
Coming next: Part V: Our Helper