Love Is Spelled O-B-E-Y--by Timothy A. Southall

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We often hear about the love Jesus has for us, but we seldom hear the definition of what our love for Jesus should be. The New Testament clearly tells us if we love Jesus, we will obey Him. This means doing God's will is evidence of our love for Him.

Let's look at the perfect example of doing God's will. Jesus always obeyed God's will. At Gethsemane (the Mount of Olives), Jesus' soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He prayed three times for the cup to be taken away from him without having to drink from it. As he prayed, his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus was asking not to be crucified, but He ended His prayer by asking for God's will to be done (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46). God's will was ultimately done. Jesus gave Himself to be crucified so that His blood would cover our sins. God's will was done at great sacrifice to God and His Son.

Jesus said if we love Him we will obey what He commands (John 14:15; John 14:23; 1 John 5:1-3). He also says that those who don't love Him won't obey His teachings (John 14:24). If we obey Him, we will remain in His love (John 15:10). Whoever obeys Jesus lives in Him (1 John 3:24).

John also teaches that those who know Jesus obey what He commands (1 John 2:3). If we obey Jesus' commandments, it pleases Him and we receive from Him what we ask (1 John 3:22).

How can we identify a true child of God? In Matthew 12:46-50, Jesus teaches us who his mother and brothers are. "For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50 NIV). Jesus also tells us that many will say they did many things in His name, but He will send them away because they are evildoers and they didn't obey Him (Matthew 7:21-23).

Unfortunately, some professing Christians only appear to obey on Sunday, but the rest of the week they live according to the ways of the world. Why does God allow this? Let's look at what Paul wrote about this: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 NIV) God, in His infinite wisdom, uses those who don't love him to work for the good of those who do!

Jesus promises the Counselor (Holy Spirit) to those who are obedient: "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--" (John 14:15-16 NIV). Peter and the other apostles also teach us that God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him: "We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32 NIV) Thus, we must conclude that only those who obey God have the Holy Spirit.

The last thing Jesus said before he ascended into heaven was what is commonly referred to as the "Great Commission": "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20 NIV, emphasis added)

A review of the scriptures clearly teaches us that our obedience to God is evidence of our love for Jesus. So the question now is: Do you love Jesus? Is the way you live your life proof that you love Him? Are you obedient to the will of God? Remember, in effect, "love" is spelled "O-B-E-Y."

Copyright © 1998 Timothy A. Southall. All rights reserved.