By Brooke Holt
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
This August, my husband and I will celebrate 28 years of marriage. Throughout these 28 years, Charlie and I have had many opportunities to demonstrate our love to one another. One of the greatest ways we have done so is by honoring our marriage vow to forsake all others and remain faithful to one another as long as we both shall live (see the Book of Common Prayer, p. 424). Our faithfulness to one another is a visible sign to each other and to the world of our marriage commitment.
What motivates my husband and me to remain faithful to our vows? Love and commitment to one another. In this last meal Jesus spends with his disciples before the crucifixion, Jesus teaches them about how to love him and how to demonstrate their love for him. They were to do that by keeping his commandments. For three years, Jesus taught these men the word of the Lord. He modelled perfect obedience to every commandment given by the Father. What motivated Jesus to remain obedient to the Lord even to the point of death? Love for his Father and love for his children.
In the church today, we often focus on having people conform to our understanding of God’s rules and commands by telling them what they should think and what they should do. However, in so doing, we miss the primary teaching of Jesus. First and foremost, as disciples of Christ, we are to love him. Our love for him then will shape our thinking and our actions. As we spend time reading the Bible, we learn that we walk in love and have nothing to fear. Fear does not motivate people to real change. Instead, the perfect love of God casts out fear (see 1 John 4:18) and frees us to become who he wants us to be. We invite people into that love and let the Lord work on conforming them to his image.
When it comes to obeying the word of the Lord, what is your attitude? Do you appreciate that God’s perfect love for you undergirds every command and instruction written in Scripture? The Lord does not seek to restrict you but to bless and to free you. His word is given that you may have an abundant spiritual life in this world and everlasting life in the world to come. When you truly know God’s perfect and steadfast love for you, you can fully entrust yourself to him and accept that his ways truly are the life-giving and best ways for you.
The Lord has provided everything you need for life and godliness through his Son and the Holy Spirit. You do not have to be perfect. Jesus already lived the perfect and sinless life for you. However, knowing the depth of God’s love will lead you to love him in return and inspire you to obey his word.
Your actions expose your heart. Thankfully, for those of us who are falling short of loving the Lord and obeying his commandments, we have a simple solution – the Holy Spirit. The Spirit makes God’s love real to your heart, and the Spirit empowers you to then love him and obey his commands. Ask the Spirit to fill you afresh today!
Does love for God captivate you and inspire you to obey all that Jesus said? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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