In our last Relationship Tuesdays we talked about God’s love, specifically God’s love for us inherent in the Gospel of Love. About how He loved us so much to send His Son to die for us, not just so that we can avoid hell, but so that we can learn to love the way He loves: loving others and loving God. Love alone paves the way for a righteous life, as summed up in the big two commandments: Love the Lord your God, and love others like yourself. And Jesus tells us that if we love Him we will obey His commandments.
For the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at the importance of obeying God in our relationship with Him.
I think a lot of times we get this mistaken idea of what obeying God’s commandments looks like. We seem to think that if we go to church, pray, read our Bible, and maybe sing some songs that we’re walking in obedience, that we have a right relationship with God. But there’s a lot more that Jesus tells us to do like feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for widows and orphans, heal the sick, to just name a few. The Bible is chalk full of things God has commanded anyone who claims a relationship with Him to do for His glory.
One of my favorite illustrations of the misconception we have about obeying God comes from Francis Chan in the Basic series, but here’s a video that sums it up with a transcript from the series below:
When my daughter comes to me and I tell her, 'go clean your room,' she's not going to come back to me and say, 'dad, I memorized what you said to me. You said to go clean my room!' because I won't celebrate and say, 'yes! That's exactly what I wanted!' no. And she's not going to come say, 'dad, I can say go clean your room in Greek.' because that's not going to fly. And she's not going to say, 'my friends and I are going to gather every week and discuss what it would look like if I cleaned my room.' None of that works. Just go and clean your room.
So why do we think that kind of teaching is going to work when it comes to Jesus?
In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.” And then in John 15:10, Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you’ll abide in my love.”
Nowhere does He say go and learn my commandments, and that’s how I’ll know you love me.
So for the next few weeks, we’ll look at why actual, physical obedience to God’s commandments is such an integral part of our relationship with Him, and why obedience demonstrates love. We’ll start with Obeying Our Father.