My mother was a great teacher…a great spiritual leader for her children and all those around her. She would simplify complex concepts for us. When it came to the question of obedience to God vs. our independence and “free-will” she made the message simple. She would always say “just love God with all you have…then do whatever you want. For if you truly love God, you will do nothing to hurt him.”
As I read today’s scripture I recall my mother’s teachings. Our Lord never insists on obedience. In fact, he stresses relationship. He pursues us across the multiverse, desiring fellowship and union with us even when we are disobedient. He even died for us to provide reconciliation, restoration and…relationship. Not to make us obedient.
If He wanted to motivate obedience, He would offer heaven to the obedient, or threaten to send the disobedient to hell. God does neither. Instead, He rewards or consequents us based on whether we are in relationship with Him or not.
God stresses very definitely what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it. We find that we will obey Him out of love. Notice that when Jesus speaks about discipleship, He prefaced it with an “If,” clearly telling us we have a choice. When we are in relationship with and really love Him, we will obey. If we are truly wise, we will follow His guidance…if we really want comfort, we will trust His direction.
Today, focus on growing your love for God. Focus less on the dos and don’ts and more on simply loving God. When you have a choice, ask yourself, “Why am a choosing this option?” hopefully you answer, “because I love God”, not because I need to do what is right. For if you truly love Him, you will be less prone to do anything to hurt him. Click here to share with the Stepping Stones community your thoughts on obedience vs. love.
Dear Father God, I thank You, Father, for the freedom to choose. I thank You, Father, for the clarity of the messages from Your Son, Jesus. Help me, Father, to grow my love for You…and then let that love guide all my decisions and actions. I pray, Father, that You protect me from all evil influences impacting my decisions. I pray in the name of my savior, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children said – AMEN!
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”