John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.”
In our culture we tend to have an allergic reaction to certain words – obey and command are two in particular that Christians tend to react to. Typical responses are to immediately think of such words as part of legalism or to counter with a ‘grace not law’ type of argument.
Picture yourself in a quiet time and suddenly Jesus is there with you – just you and Jesus – face to face. With a loving yet serious look, eye to eye, he says to you, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” I imagine that would catch your attention. Afterward those words would likely burn within you.
“If you love Me…” One of the problems we have in English is that there is one word for love. That word love applies to everything around us. We love our sports team. We love fried chicken. We love beautiful sunsets. We love walks in the woods. It goes on and on. We love potato chips. We love God. What does the word “love” really mean – particularly since we use it so frequently to describe such a wide variety of things.
“If you love Me…” With these words comes the realization that God wants us to love Him. In fact it’s more serious than that because there is an implication in this verse that is truly shocking. At face value, the verse says if we love Him, we will obey what He commands. But consider the implication of the reverse: If we don’t do what He commands, we don’t love Him.
It’s imperative that we understand this is not talking about earning our salvation. It is coming to grips with the fact that the God of the Universe – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – wants, and expects, His people to love Him.
Let that sink in. Loving God is not optional, nor something to be approached casually. It is at the very heart of our faith. It is what defines us as Christians – the people of God. The wonderful news is that He does not leave us to our own devices to figure out what loving Him means. He gives us the answer!