If you love me, you will keep my commandments. -John 14:13
Everyone can probably relate to this situation as a child. A chore or task needed to be done and your mom said something like, "Come on child, don't you love your mother? Please do what I have asked." What motivated the obedience? Guilt. So, our thinking goes into something like this, "I don't want my mom to think I don't love her, so I will do this." Elyse writes, "Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving." Was your mom wrong to ask you to obey, definitely not, but obedience should not be motivated by guilt. It should be motivated by love.
"It is true that the object of our love can always be detected in our behavior." How does this apply to my love for Christ? "If love for God is not present in our heart, then Godward obedience will be absent in our life." Elyse wrote a statement that made me laugh, "Your Savior isn't like your mother." He does not think of motivating you by guilt. This is one of those moments where I am amazed at how God knows us. Because He is not just our Savior, but also our Creator, He knows. "He knows our desires to obey and our shame and sadness because of our failures. But he also knows that as our love for Him grows, our obedience will grow, too."
The key to obedience is not more self-driven effort, but a focus on Christ. The Bible says in 1 John 4:19, "We love Him because He first loved us." How do I cultivate loving Him? "I intently focus on His love for me more than my love for Him, more on His obedience than mine, more on His faithfulness than mine, more on His strength then mine." My mind is unable to grasp the greatness of His love, but as I see glimpses of it, I am motivated to obey. "God's love changes people. It makes obedience attractive."
We can talk a lot about God's love, but Satan is still at work and tempts us to doubt God's love. Our sin at times can skew our view of God's great love for us and our actions produce disobedience. "But our Redeemer doesn't leave us there. He patiently and gently draws us back... His love is fervent, eternal, uncompromising." Today, I challenge you along with myself to rest in His love. "Confront your own sinfulness, yes, but only after you've remembered His love for you. Then love Him and obey."