“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, ESV).
One of the first Bible passages my wife and I taught our daughter, Arabella, is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
This section of Scripture is so foundational to Christian living that Jesus cited it as the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:34-38). We must love God above all else. But our love for God must be more than mere sentimentality. Properly defined, love is more than a feeling; it is characterized by actions, and righteous actions can be defined only by the law of God.
This explains why Jesus repeatedly emphasized that true Christians would demonstrate their love for him by keeping his commandments. Just as Jesus proved that he was the Son of God by perfectly obeying the will of his Father, so shall the disciples of Jesus be known by their obedience to him.
Even more, our personal relationship with Christ is strengthened as we imitate his righteousness. When we obey God’s commandments, we experience his abiding love most fully: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love” (John 15:10a). Jesus delights to dwell with those who walk in his will (14:23), and he promises that they will bear fruit (15:5).
Accordingly, a sincere Christian who loves King Jesus will love his law. The psalmist writes about the joy he finds in God’s law: “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:8). On the other hand, a life characterized by rebelling against the laws of the kingdom reveals that he or she is not a willing subject of the prince.
Ultimately, we express our love for God through obeying him in everything. Our obedience to God’s law cannot save us, but our pattern of living reflects the sincerity of our faith.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, cleanse my heart of disobedience. Lead me in your righteousness, and make your way straight before me, even as I rely upon the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ for my justification. In his name we pray, amen.