If you love me…
John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.
When I was a little girl, I can remember watching soap operas with my mom and grandmom. I was always amazed at the story plots and twists as characters promised and vowed to love one another. Many promises were made about their love and many would issue some ultimatum or some hidden agenda for their love. “If you love me, you would give me all the money in your bank account.” “If you love me you wouldn’t tell people my secret.”
This was a very different kind of love than the love that God has for us. His love simply says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Just a special reminder that our love is an action word… obey. And guess what? There are only 10 of them! 1 John 5:3 says “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome”. God doesn’t give us burdens that we can’t handle and commandments that we can’t keep. His yoke is easy. His burdens are light.
In the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, God tells the Israelites the blessings that follow obedience. Some are… You will be set high above the nations on earth; You will be Blessed in the city and the field; The fruit of your womb will be blessed; You will be a lender and not a borrower; and have abundant prosperity. Read Chapter 28 for ALL the blessings of obedience. But notice that following the blessings for obedience are the curses for disobedience. If you read all the curses for disobedience, they are the opposite of the blessings for obedience.
God gives us the choice of blessings or curses based on our actions. He even says “If”, which is a conjunction introducing a conditional clause. If you love me, then obey my commandments. He is not forcing us to do it, but he says your love for me will show in how you keep my commandments.
I absolutely love the account of Jonah. I believe I am a direct descendant of Bro. Jonah. Here is the gist of Jonah’s account. Jonah was told by God to go to Nineveh to tell the people to get their lives together and repent. The people of Nineveh were very wicked enemies of Israel. Jonah was an Israelite and decided that he would not be going to Nineveh to preach to “those” people. So Jonah headed to Tarshish which was the exact opposite direction of Nineveh. He boarded a ship to escape. A storm arose and the men on board realized that Jonah was the cause of the storm so they threw him off. As soon as Jonah hit the water, the storm stopped. Jonah was then swallowed by a whale and stayed in the body of the whale for 3 days. In the belly of the whale, Jonah repented and prayed. He eventually went to Nineveh when he was thrown up by the whale.
To Jonah going to Nineveh made NO sense and he decided that he would go in the opposite direction (disobedience) of where the Lord was sending him. Nineveh was a country ridden with sin. It was the original “Sin City”, full of lawlessness and debauchery. Why Nineveh? We have to do what God says whether it makes sense or not!
Sometimes being obedient to God seems strange and is difficult to understand. I can only imagine how Mary, the mother of Jesus, felt when the angel told her that she would give birth to the Messiah. But her final response in Luke 1:38 was simply, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.” Simple obedience. I crave this type of obedience. I need this type of obedience in my life. Mary only asked how could this be I am a virgin (Luke 1:34), but her final response was that of obedience.
God requires our obedience. He doesn’t just speak to hear himself speak. He speaks so that He can convey a message or a command and our response should be obedience. We miss the blessings of God when we are disobedient.
Case in point… A few months ago as I was preparing for work, the Holy Spirit, clearly told me to pick up a box of pencils that were beside my bed and take them to work with me. Obedience would have been to just grab the box and head out the door, however, in my normal talk back, inquisitive fashion. I asked, “why do I need pencils?” Then I stated to the All-Knowing God of the Universe, “I don’t need pencils” and walked out the door to go to work WITHOUT the pencils. No sooner had I walked in the door of my job, did a young teacher, Mrs. Williams, walk up to me and ask me for pencils. I was in utter shock! I could not believe this was happening. A few things were running through my mind:
1) I had totally heard the voice of God. Some people pray to hear his voice and I had actually heard it even though I didn’t listen.
2) I missed an opportunity to testify to the younger teacher about how God was working in her life and answering her prayers through me. (Please note, she may not have prayed for pencils, but the fact that her need would have been met would have still been a blessing and maybe an opportunity for me to witness to her.)
3) I had to confess my sins – 1 John 1:9 says that “if we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I told my coworker about the pencils and that God had clearly told me to get the pencils and I had been disobedient. She accepted it, of course and said it was no big deal. But to me it was a HUGE deal.
4) I had to ask for forgiveness for my disobedience. I was not obedient and as a result I missed an opportunity to be blessed and a blessing to someone else.
Our obedience can change lives and situations. Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, warned them to repent of their sins or their city would be destroyed in 40 days. The people repented and turned away from their sin. Jonah saved a city with a population of 120,000 citizens just because he was obedient. He kept God’s command to GO!
Remember, obedience and keeping God’s commandments are directly tied to God’s bountiful blessings. We show our love for God by how we keep or obey His commandments. Be obedient and live in the RED - loved and forgiven.