3 Ways Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

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“Loving God – really loving Him – means living out His commands no matter what the cost.”

– Chuck Colson

If You Love Me

Jesus equated loving Him with following His commands. He said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He also said, “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. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me” (John 14:23-24). If we say we love Him, and I mean really love Him, we will not only hear His words but obey His words, and that means living them out in life, no matter what the cost. I read of a banker who was applying for a job in a new bank of a huge national banking company, and after they decided to hire him, the bank manager told him that they usually keep a portion of the accounts’ interest earned and put it into a special account. The manager said that this is what a lot of banks do. The prospective employee, who was a Christian, said that he couldn’t do that because it was stealing. The manager said that if he didn’t do this, then the job would be withdrawn. The man lost a potentially good-paying job for the sake of obeying God’s commandment to not steal. He lived out the commands regardless of what it cost him.

Abiding in His Love

Jesus not only said that if you love Him you’ll keep His commands, but He will abide with you, as it says in John 15:10, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” The Greek word for abide is “menō” and means “to remain” or “not to depart,” so if you keep Jesus’ commands, He is essentially saying that He will remain in you and not depart, but if you disobey His commands, His abiding with you is no guarantee. Jesus loves the Father. How was this love expressed? It was expressed in always pleasing God, as He said, “I always do what pleases him” (John 8:29b). It is more than knowing Jesus’ commands; it is doing them, regardless of the cost, as Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21).

We Can Know We Love Him

The Apostle John wrote that “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands” (1 John 2:3) because “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6), and Jesus always did the will of the Father. That’s how we can know we love Him–if we keep His commands. Jesus asks the rhetorical question, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you” (Luke 6:46)? It makes no sense to call Him Lord and then not do what He commands. If we disobey, then is He really our Lord?

Conclusion

Love is not so much a feeling as it is a willingness to do something. Love is a choice, that is to choose to obey God, for no one can say that they really love God if they don’t obey Him. That is not possible.

Original image source:

CC BY paul bica
modifications: overlay texture, added text, cropped image

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Jack is an author and pastor at the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane, Kansas. You can find more writing from Jack at WhatChristiansWantToKnow.com and FaithInTheNews.com.