Don’t Bother Obeying If You Don’t Love!
If you are in love with someone, you want them to love you back. You want them to want you. That’s what makes chemistry and a good marriage – a man and a woman who spontaneously reciprocate love to each other – because they truly love one another. Think about that. No human would deny such a simple, self-evident truth. Well, the One who made us wants us to want Him – to love Him.
Just WHAT is there not to love about the LORD and Savior Jesus Christ? If we haven’t taken time to get to know about Him and to know Him, we will never begin to uncover His infinite riches, truth, divine attributes, kindness, mercy, grace, love, and much more.
Jesus says: “IF YOU LOVE ME, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) The self-reliant legalist is quick to emphasize the keeping of His commands but that’s utterly in vain if we have not love for Him! Read Jesus’ words again and look closely at what comes first which indicates divine priority – “IF YOU LOVE ME, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) You see, it’s only “IF” we “LOVE” Him that He is interested in our obedience. Obedience to what Christ commanded is of no value to God if we don’t sincerely love Him.
Perhaps our prayer should begin with “Father, You are love. Help me to love You more! Jesus, You must increase but I must decrease! I beg You now to break me LORD!”
EVERY single human being loves someone supremely. For most who claim to know Jesus, they love self more than the Savior (2 Timothy 3:1-7). Token obedience out of guilt doesn’t please God.
When Jesus compared Mary and Martha, which once please Him?
“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Note that Jesus here said that the “good part” Mary chose “shall not be taken away from her.” Now, recall with me how Paul taught that love is eternal whereas gifts are not (1 Corinthians 13).
Heartfelt Willingness Must Precede Obedience
You know, when His people were backslidden, the LORD told them to “Come ….. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” (Isaiah 1:18-20) Note the order here: Firstly and foremost important to God is that His people be “willing.” Note the order and how “willing” comes before “obedient.” God is only interested in our obedience if and as our hearts are “willing” or desiring Him.
“Your Work of Faith, and Labour of love”
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
Our work for Christ must emanate from our “faith” toward Him and our “love” will bear the fruit of “labour” for His glory. You may wish to really grab on to this divinely-inspired phrase – “work of faith, and labour of love.”
The bottom line is that Jesus is not at all interested in you trying to serve and please Him IF YOU DON’T LOVE HIM. Of course, you must repent in order to be His son/daughter to begin with (Luke 13:3, 5). And, repentance is putting your full trust in Him and the beginning of loving Him. The LORD looks upon and wants your heart. – “Rend your heart, and not your garments.” (Joel 2:13)
I believe we can behold this important priority throughout our LORD’s Word and Joel 2 is not exception.
“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart (internal), and not your garments (external things), and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.” Joel 2:12-16
In Matthew 9:13 Jesus told us to go and learn something:
“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:13
Christ foretold that in the last days, the love of many would wax cold – toward Him and consequently, His beloved people.
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end (truly loving Him supremely), the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:10-13
Jesus here says that the love for God among those who once knew Him is fading and waxing cold whereas it was once hot. Is this not exactly what happened to the Ephesians and the Laodiceans? (Revelation 2:4-5; 3:15-16). It’s those who are choosing daily to love God above their selves who are longing to be with their glorious Savior. Their love for the LORD waxes hotter daily as they look expectantly and eagerly for His soon return.
Commanded to Love
IF we truly love Him, we will obey Him. Yet, trying to obey Him without loving Him in order to get Him to love us or please Him, is futile.
Many are getting caught up in law keeping type obedience. Many times we hear the term “keep Torah.” BUT what did Jesus sum it all as? Many can be heard saying “Stop Sinning” and “Go and sin no more.” Jesus said the latter but not before He forgave the woman He told that to. Redemption comes before obedience and overcoming (John 8:1-11; 1 John 5:4-5).
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
And just WHY are we privileged to return love to the LORD? – “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
“His Commandments are not Grievous”
Those who love the LORD desire and rejoice to obey Him. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3) Now, go read this passage – begin reading in 1 John 5:1. Notice that it’s only when we are not submitted to, that is, abiding intimately in, Christ that His commands would be “grievous” to us. Otherwise, our obedience to Him is a labor of love. Do you remember how much Jacob loved Rachel? That was his baby wasn’t it? Look what Scripture reveals about that relationship – “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Genesis 29:20)
Don’t you just love that verse? – “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Genesis 29:20)
Rachel was a labor of love for Jacob. He didn’t mind working for her because he loved her. Spending those years to be with Rachel was not “grievous” to Jacob because he loved Rachel.
Are you saying “Come Lord Jesus” with those who truly love Him, or, are are you cursed?
“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ…”
“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” 1 Corinthians 16:22
Of this verse, the late Donald Stamps notes:
“ANATHEMA. Paul ends the Corinthian letter by reminding all professing believers that to claim to be believers, yet to “love not the Lord,’ is to be ‘Anathema’ (i.e., accursed, doomed). To ‘love not the Lord’ means to fail to have a heartfelt love toward Him, to not obey Him (John 14:21), and to distort the apostolic gospel of N.T. revelation. To be accursed means being excluded from the true spiritual church on earth and finally from the heavenly kingdom of the age to come. Paul wants his readers to understand that the ultimate test of Christian discipleship is a personal, heartfelt loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 10:9).”
The last word in this verse is “Maranatha” which means “Come Lord.” And this is the heart cry of all who are His blessed remnant! Their hearts are looking for Him and they “love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 9:28) Jesus will soon return for “all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
As things continue to get darker and the hearts of men more murderous and antichrist, we must rejoice and reflect upon the words of Jesus when He told us: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
It is of the utmost important that we choose to love and to continue to learn to love and obey our LORD Jesus Christ who bled to save us to the Father.
Friend, are you truly loving God first and foremost? Is Jesus truly first in your daily, personal life? Does the LORD come before YOU? Are you dying so He can live? Do you arise in the mornings to seek His holy face in prayer and reading His Word?
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