With a title like “Obedience”, I expect this will be the least popular devotional of all. Nobody likes to be reminded that we are called to live a life of obedience toward God’s commandments. I would rather hear all about ooy gooy Grace and forgiveness, and less about what God wants to see from me. We would rather cash in on God’s mercy, and forget all about his expectations.
But because a doctrine is unpopular, does not change its truth.
1st John 5:3 tells us that if we love God, keeping his commandments is not a burden. Our love for God is the underlying point of that message, because without it, all we are left with is a legalistic guilt driven adherence to rules. If I am just keeping rules for the sake of being obedient, then this will not inspire love, nor does this come from a place of love. However, if I love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, then it becomes my pleasure to do as he asks, because I realize that he only asks me to do things that are in my best interest.
Like when I tell my child to put her seatbelt on, it is not because I am sadistic, and love to see her restricted to her seat. It is because I know there is danger she does not see, and she can be protected from it by following this instruction. If my daughter trusts me, and loves me, then following this instruction is not too much to ask. Though, at times she will still probably need to be told more directly then I would like, because her childish rebellious nature will require her to test the limits just to see what disobedience produces.
And so it is for us. If God could just ask us, then He would leave it at that. But we must cross the line by nature, so he instructs us a bit more directly, only because to do so puts us out of harms way. And living in sin, is putting ourselves in harms way.
Ecclesiastes 12:13B – Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
So it is the duty of all mankind, not just Gods believers. While it is only those who love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength that will likely practise obedience and therefore be blessed accordingly.
John 14:21 – Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
From our love flows the desire to please God, and a respect for his commandments. An obedience to His commandments does not produce love. Love comes first.
Jesus said the greatest commandment was this;
Deuteronomy 6:5-6 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
If we do only this, then it is enough. For out of this flows obedience to all other commandments. If we get nothing else right in our lives, but we get this right, then we have done well enough.
1 John 2:4 – Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.
OOO, harsh words from John, but as I said, even if truth is unpopular, it is still truth. John clearly says that your words are not what will tell me if you love the Lord. I will be able to tell how much you love the Lord by your lifestyle.
Meditating on these scriptures are for me like looking in a mirror. As I reflect, do I like what I see staring back at me?