“If you love Me, keep My commandments”
John 14:15, NKJV
Jesus made it plain about how we are to demonstrate love for Him — through our obedience. A similar mandate was given in the Old Testament with the Deuteronomic covenant. (See Deut. 5:10; 6:5–6; 7:9; 10:12–13; 11:13, 22). The bottom line is that those of us who claim to love God, can’t settle for lip service only. We must act according to His Word.
Whenever our words misalign with our actions, people will always believe what we do rather than what we say. For example, if a man or woman claims to love a spouse and yet habitually commits adultery, his or her love will be questioned. If parents love their children, they don’t intentionally mistreat them or put them in harm’s way. If we love Jesus, we won’t purposely misrepresent Him.
As humans, sometimes our words and actions will contradict one another. We have this thing called flesh that gets in the way of us naturally displaying perfect love. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a situation where you have done something for which you felt horrible because your actions did not align with the core of your values and beliefs, but I sure have. I recall a time in December of 2017 when I completely lost my cool about a customer service issue that I’d been waiting to have resolved since October of that same year. When I say that I lost it, that old flesh that had been crucified with Christ (Gal. 5:24) was resurrected, and honey, it was nothing nice. The call ended with me hanging up because I’d said things to which I could not recover.
It would be easy for me to make excuses for my behavior — 2017 was the year I lost both my mom and favorite aunt, became an empty nester, healing from a broken friendship, etc. I was under a lot of stress, no doubt, but none of that justifies wrong actions. I’m sure the woman with whom I had spoken would have been shocked to know that I’m a firm believer who writes and promotes Christ. That bothered me. I was so disturbed by my own behavior that I ultimately let the issue go without seeking further resolution.
Even our best efforts to live right will fall short (Is. 64:6; Rom. 3:23). It doesn’t mean that we should quit trying. Unlike us, God’s actions and words are always congruent. He promises to forgive us when we fall short (1 John 1:9). While our love for God will not be displayed perfectly, it should compel us to desire and strive to live by the fruit of His Spirit rather than our flesh (Gal. 5:19–23). Yep, we will mess up. #Humanity. Remember, God loves us so much that He won’t leave us in our mess. When we love Him back, we won’t want to stay there either.
Consider any areas in your life where you have settled for living contrary to His way. Now, determine if you love Him enough to turn those areas of your life to Him.