Love First

If you love me, obey my commandments. -John 14:15

No matter which version of the Bible you choose, the passage reads the same way; in this order:

If you love me, keep my commands. (NIV)

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (ESV)

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (KJV)

If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. (MSG)

Recognize what Jesus speaks of here. Love leads to obedience!

God is love (1 John 4:8) and He loves you. Unconditionally! We often have an easier time accepting this as newly born again Christians. Take some time to reflect on how you felt in the days and weeks following your baptism. The love of the Father created comfort, joy, delight and peace, and the evidence of your faith was undeniable in your heart, behaviors and countenance. We long to return to those times! And yet, they can become distant…

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. -1 John 4:18 (NLT)

Time passes, and fear begins to creep into our most important relationship, and fear always comes by way of agreement with the enemy. That is satan’s goal. To kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) everything – including (perhaps especially) your relationship with Abba Father. As the enemy begins to dismantle and deaden your relationship with your perfect Dad, your heart, behaviors and countenance will begin to dull, and your obedience will falter.

We read it in His Word and know this to be true. That the Father loves unconditionally and with a grace we cannot comprehend. Re-read the story of the prodigal son for context (Luke 15:11-32).

When we begin the journey of addressing our sin, brokenness, disobedience, and distance from God, it is not merely a matter of behavior modification, but an investment and engagement of our heart’s connection to God, The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. Of course, addressing our sin by way of changing our behaviors can result in some positive outcomes and holds the potential to reconnect ourselves to the heart of God. However, it can also be a painstaking task of just trying to keep His law without the connection and relationship that is most important to God.

Here are some questions to pray on:

  • How did you feel at the time you rededicated your life to follow Jesus (baptism)?
  • What are the events that have disconnected your heart from God’s?
  • How has the enemy used these events to ruin, diminish or harm your relationship with God?
  • Do you seek and look forward to moments to engage, rejoice and bask in the love and mercy of your Heavenly Father? Or do you connect with Him merely out of a place of obligation and obedience?
  • Do you spend more time in awe of His presence and goodness, or by trying to “make things right” by way of obedience and rule following?

 

May God bless your walk and journey back to Him. 

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