Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
To read this verse, it kind of sounds like Jesus is saying, “If you obey me, I will love you,” produces a mechanical, dry Christianity with no warmth or joy or glory. But what Jesus really says is, “If you love me, you will obey me,” and that falls much more in line with the God I know and trust. Notice that it is not, “If you love me, you will have to obey my teachings” No, it is cause and effect: “If you love me, the result is that you will obey my teachings.” And when you see that obedience in your life, that is a proof of your God-given trust and love for Christ.
If it takes love to obey, what produces love? That’s the question. What gets us there? If you see a Christian disobeying Christ or you are tempted to disobey, what is it that will turn you around and make you want obey instead? It’s love. How do you produce love? What will make you love him? His love for you and what it has led him to do and promise – knowing that, trusting that, and loving that.
Therefore, the way to produce love can be as simple as remembering who you are, to whom you belong, and who he is. Remember his death, his resurrection, and his unity with you – you are his and all that is his is yours. You cannot remind yourself of that without being reminded of the promises and love he’s revealed to you in his Word.
God’s Word for us is like Superman’s phone booth. We are to go to the phone booth of the Bible, to remind ourselves of who we are, to whom we belong, and find love and motivation and power available to us. We are able to do what otherwise we could not do. This is what our Lord is teaching his disciples when he says these words: “If you love me, you will obey my teaching.”
Lord, teach me to retreat to that place where I can renew my mind with the realities of my identity in Christ–that I am loved with an everlasting love, filled with your Spirit, and able to obey by the power at work in me. Amen.