The title of this post comes from John 14:15 – If you love me you will obey what I command (NIV). Does that verse seem oppressive to you? I remember the first time I heard that passage, I had images of a dictator standing up on a podium commanding his peasants to obey him or else… I started to picture God in this way; a distant ruler that didn’t even know or care to know that I existed unless I didn’t conform to his agenda. Then his wrath would be upon me.
But that is not the case at all. That is the picture satan wants to put in our head but it is nothing more than a lie. If God is such a distant, destructive, callous, cruel, and cut throat ruler than why would he send his one and only son as a sacrifice for you and for me?
1 John 3:16 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (NIV)
Would you be able to lay down your life for Christ? For a brother or sister in need? Obviously there is a literal context to this verse but I also think there is another context as well. Are we willing to lay down our normal day to day life to help a brother or sister in need? Can we sacrifice our busy schedules or our to-do lists to help someone else in need of Christ?
I believe this is what Jesus was getting at when he continues from verse 16 and into verses 17-18;
1 John 3:17-18 – If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (NIV)
Have you ever signed up to help or volunteer with something and when the time comes you dread going to it? Maybe you even try to think of a legitimate excuse to get out of it? I’m not going to lie; I have been there before. But when I look back at the times I felt this way and ended up going anyways, I was blessed beyond my wildest dreams. This is exhibit A of Christ not only blessing the person obeying his commands, but he also fills them with his Love. And there is not better feeling in this world than God’s genuine love pouring into you.
In closing, let’s look back at our original verse; John 14:15 – If you love me you will obey what I command (NIV). Hopefully by reading through this post you can now see this verse in a different light. There is such pure joy, contentment, pleasure, peace, fulfilment in obeying God’s commands. Not because God rules with fear, but because he rules with Love. A love that is so rich and magnificent it’s better than any earthly high we can receive.