"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."

I John 5:3, RSV 


I suppose there are a lot of ways to define love. Love is a condition of the heart. It involves great feeling and should involve great affection. Paul described the elements of love in I Corinthians 13, where he revealed love as being patient, kind, not jealous or boastful, not arrogant or rude, not insisting on its own way, not irritable or resentful, rejoicing with the right not the wrong. He said that love bears all things and believes all things and hopes all things. And he said that love never fails.


I think that we can relate to all of these attributes, but when it comes to obedience and love we are often convinced that they are mutually exclusive. I don't know how many times I have heard (or to my shame, thought) something along the lines of, "I may not always do what God says, but He still knows that I love Him."


And we feel better for saying this and I think that we may even believe this, but does that type of "love without obedience" attitude agree with what John the apostle was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in his letter? Does it agree with anything else we read in Scripture? I hope that it is obvious to you that the answer to these questions is no.


Why then do we act in a totally opposite way? Why do we act as if we can love God and live in sin when God's word clearly reveals that we cannot do both? Maybe it's because most people simply believe what they believe, regardless of the facts.


But, not you!


Isn't it true that you have been involved in this three-month long study because you want to find out for yourself what God wants you to do? Isn't it true that now that you know for yourself what God's word says that you will never look at the Bible as something that cannot be understood ever again? And now that you know that even though there are some difficult passages, isn't it true that now that you realize you can understand God's word for yourself, that you will never be able to be easily misled by well-meaning preachers or family members or friends when it comes to what the Bible really teaches? 


And isn't it true that you now know that love and obedience have never been "mutually exclusive" in God's revealed word, but have always been connected when it comes to our relationship with God? That, I believe, is why Jesus said this:


"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15, RSV

"He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." John 14:21, RSV

"If a man loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23, RSV

"We who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me." John 14:24, RSV


Today is the 82nd day of the 90 day challenge to study the New Testament, with the readings consisting of I John 4-5 and II John. May God richly bless you as you are prompted by love to seek His commandments and to obey them!