Monday, April 23, 2012

The Fruit of Love

"Love is the root; obedience is the fruit."  Matthew Henry

Our society bucks against obedience.  Children push against it.  Our flesh struggles with it.  Why?

Because we want to be in control.  And we believe well placed and spoken lies of the enemy.  It is as simple as that.

"We fool ourselves if we think our love for God and our obedience to Him are separate issues.  They are two sides of the same coin.  The belief that love and obedience are not related is epidemic among christians.  We have become so paranoid of having theology of "righteousness = works" that we have ignored obedience altogether as though it does not matter to God.  Jesus is clear that it does.  Obedience is not our means to righteousness; it is the clearest expression of our devotion to Jesus.  It is meaningful worship.  When we are disobedient, we are saying God's word does not matter to us.  That isn't love."  At His Feet, Chris Tiegreen

Jesus makes it clear, numerous times, in John 14 that loves equals obedience.  Love is not a feeling.  It is a verb.  It requires choice and action.  The word of God is truth and where we find truth.  It is what all truth is based on.  It is where we find the definition of love... God's definition of love.  Love = Obedience.

"The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. (10)  If you love Me, keep My commandments. (15)  He who has My commandments and keeps them is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by the Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (21)  If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and my Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. (23, 24)  John 14~

For me, my desire to be obedient came from thankfulness.  As God drew me closer to Him and revealed Himself to me more and more, my desire to please Him became greater than my desire for comfort, ease, fitting in, getting by, or doing things the same way I had always done them.  I know I can not earn my salvation.  I can not be good enough, holy enough, obedient enough, sinless enough, or pleasing enough.  God looks at me and sees Christ in me.  Oh Praise Him for such a gift and for such love.

But verse 21 is my favorite reason of why I long to obey.  Obedience is an expression of my love for Him that God accepts.  And it is one that God blesses.  Many people do things for the LORD as an offering of "love" or in an attempt to love but He may not be pleased with it or accept it.  We do not love the Father by doing things we "think" are love to Him... we love the Father by doing what He says is love to Him.  There is a big difference.  And in this verse, Jesus lets us know what happens in return for our love of God... our obedience; "He who has My commandments and keeps them is he who loves me.  AND HE WHO LOVES ME WILL BE LOVED BY THE FATHER, AND I WILL LOVE HIM AND MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM."  John 14:21

There it is.  Jesus says you will be loved (verb) by the Father AND by JESUS and that Jesus will MANIFEST HIMSELF to you when you obey.  And I have seen it over and over again.  I have posted about if before and I will say it again, the biggest area I have seen this happen is in my marriage.  I once wanted to leave my marriage.  And it was not for the one reason Jesus gives as a reason to leave your marriage.  So I chose to be obedient even though I was not FEELING it.  And Jesus has blessed that obedience greater than I ever could have imagined or hoped for.  TO HIM AND HIS WORD BE ALL THE GLORY.  The second way He has blessed me is by manifesting Himself to me, also in ways that I never imagined or even knew if I believed.  And I will post more about that later.  It is the encounter with Him that has changed my spiritual life from comfortable and content to hunger and transformation.

I long to be obedient as part of my worship... as part of my offering... as part of my dying to self, growing, and maturing in my faith.  I long to be obedient because I love the LORD.  I love JESUS.  And I love the HOLY SPIRIT.  It is not because I am trying to get to heaven.  I am saved by my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son through God's grace alone lest I should boast and think I have done or can do anything to earn it!

God has given us boundaries, rules, commands, insight for a reason and that reason is exactly why we have rules with our children.  Because we love them, know a little more than they do, want to protect them, want a positive relationship with them, and want to teach them values/behaviors/beliefs that will bless them and their relationships later in life.  And because by learning to obey us, they will learn to obey God.

God is our Father.  And He can do something we can't do with our kids.  He knows every day of our lives.  He sees the day we will die and why.  He sees the challenges that lies ahead... and the blessings.  Every single one of them.  And He longs for us to be in a healthy, active, obedient relationship with Him so He can guide us through it.  So we can get closer to Him, see Him, feel Him, experience Him, and glorify Him through it.

I love what David writes about God's commands in Psalm 119.  It may be the longest Psalm and it speaks very highly of the wisdom, safety, love, protection, and blessings from God's law, testimonies, promises, commands.
"When I look into all your commandments, I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn your righteous judgments. (6)  Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from your law.  I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.  My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times. (18-20)  Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven.  Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth and it abides.  They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants. (89-91)  Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, more than fine gold!  Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way." (127, 128)  

Oh to be so hungry for the word of God.  Oh to be longing for His truth and willing to be obedient.  Oh to be so in tune with the Father's love for us, for His heart for all mankind.  It would transform you.  It would change you.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable, and perfect"  Romans 12:2~

How have christians conformed to this world?  What is the renewing of your mind? How do you discern?  What is good, acceptable, and perfect to God?  Next...

Much love, Dawn

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!