Read John 14:1-31
“If you love me, you will obey what I command” (v. 15).
“I love you, God!”
Those four words lie at the heart of worship. Somehow, in worship, we want to give voice to His greatness and then express to Him our allegiance and love. Countless hymns, choruses, and contemporary songs express that thought in a variety of melodic ways. But, music is only one of the languages of worship. Songs are but one means by which we can express those key words, “I love you” to the triune God. There are other ways to say that.
Jesus, in one of the last encounters with His disciples prior to the crucifixion, pointed to another means by which we can express love. This expression moves beyond words to actions. It moves to obedience to His commandments. But before we move on to talk about that obedience, it is important to notice that this is not optional. In fact, it would not be inappropriate for us to consider this to be a means by which we can tell if a person – if we – love God. “If you love me” . . . there are any number of people who would claim love for God. There are all kinds of people who sing songs that express love for Christ. But then comes the one characteristic common to all who love Him, “you will obey what I command.” People who love Christ obey Him. Obedience is a defining trait among those who love Him.
So, how do you measure up? If obedience is indicative of love, how clearly are you communicating that love for Him? A simple tour of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7 gives us much to examine.
- Are you reconciling with others with whom you’ve had tense relationships? (Matt. 5:21-26)
- Are you taking radical steps to avoid lust and adultery? (5:27-30)
- If you are married, are you investing in a love relationship with your spouse? (5:31, 32)
- Are you a person of integrity that people can count on? (5:33-37)
- Do you demonstrate love towards those who hate you? (5:43-48)
- Do you practice spiritual disciplines in private? (6:1-18)
- Do you choose to trust rather than be anxious? (6:19-34)
- Do you examine your own life and lovingly confront others? (7:1-5)
To Jesus, those acts of obedience are a clear means of saying to Him, “I love you!”