Our verse for today comes from 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.”
If you do this, then that will happen. Is there an area of our lives where this precept does not preside over our actions and decisions? Everything we say and do is governed by that simple doctrine. But because we are human, and by that I mean sinful and lazy, our inclination is to approach that tenet with one question: What happens if I don’t do that? Or put another way, if I almost do what is asked, will I still get the same result as if I had completely fulfilled the requirements? Namely, how much leeway or allowance is there for my lack of complete compliance? For we know ourselves, we know that our intentions outweigh our perseverance. We know our stamina to endure is weaker than our tendency to wilt. So, when we hear Jesus tell us to keep His commandments to abide in His love, our minds begin to race. What are these commands that Jesus expects us to keep? What happens when we fail to keep a command? Why do we have to obey commands if we are saved by grace? How can His love be contingent on my faithfulness? You see how quickly we can turn the words of Jesus into a formula for approval, guilt, stress, frustration, or worse. Just reading through the sermon on the mount where Jesus explains how His followers are to live, one hears over and over the lofty standards that Christ holds for His children. We say we love Jesus, but we don’t come anywhere close to living up to His proclamation, “Be perfect, even as I am perfect.”
So what is our fate? Well, most certainly it’s not hopelessness. Jesus said He kept God’s commandments because He loved the Father. So we know that our obedience is a response of love, not a pursuit of it. We also know our works are as filthy rags apart from God’s grace, so nothing we do, no matter how good, is worthy of Him apart from the work of His Spirit. And we know our righteousness is declared based on Christ’s work on the cross, and we neither add to nor take away from it. So keep His commandments, because that’s what Jesus did. And that’s who you should want to be like.
As we seek Him today, commit to obeying the commands of Jesus because your love for Him would have it no other way.