Day 35: Unlocking obedience
Obey? Why? Obey what? Today the idea of obeying something “outside of yourself” might be an antiquated notion.
Yet how are you with conforming your actions (those things you do) with your will (those things you know you should do)? Are you a “try harder” kind of person? Or perhaps you take your cues from Yoda: “For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” Sounds a little “New Age”. These two options seem to be the choices we are offered as we seek to order our lives.
I once had a boss who said to me, “I guess when it becomes really important to you, you will do something about it.”
Ouch! His comment was directed at a recurring problem that I had yet to get fixed.
I have met few people who are truly carefree. People who seemingly have no external, or internal, guiding star. Most of us have some set of norms that we are seeking to live by. At issue is our ability to consistently follow, you might say obey, those norms.
Jesus says today, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” and “Whoever has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me” and “If anyone loves me he will keep my word” (verses 15, 21, and 23).
I am not sure what you are thinking. Maybe “Yikes!” Or, maybe, “How does the idea of love and obey connect?”
For years, I focused on the word obey. At an early age, I pictured God had a clipboard with my name atop a piece of paper with a list of offenses below it. As I went through my day it was clear he was checking off each grievance as I committed them. My goal? Obey. My daily result? Failure.
A closer read of the text today suggests a very different focus—LOVE.
Let’s consider a parallel situation.
Remember when you were first in love? Do you remember how you could fulfill any request from your sweetheart? Their appeals seemed small. In fact, you might have even tried to anticipate what would delight them, and then offer it to them without any hesitation.
Do you remember ever being in that state of mind?
Jesus’ words suggest that if we are having trouble obeying, that we should focus on loving him more.
Unlocking obedience is simple to describe. Love God, more. Love Jesus, more.
Please note I wrote that it is simple to describe.
It follows very naturally from the idea I have been writing about: one-ness. It is challenging. It requires intentionality. It requires putting God, putting Jesus, on top of my agenda. It requires sacrifice.
Love is like that.