“Do you ever think,” Stan asked, “why you obey God?”
“I can’t say that I have given a lot of thought to that,” I replied. “How about you?”
“I can tell you without a doubt,” Stan said, “that as a younger person who believed in God, but was not a Christian, any of my obedience to God was based on fear. I was afraid that if I didn’t obey Him, He would be really mad at me.”
“I suppose I can relate to that,” I responded.
“When I became a Christian,” Stan continued, “the focus of my obedience changed somewhat, but my obedience was then based, not on the notion of fear, but on the notion that obeying God was what I was supposed to do. It wasn’t that I was still afraid God would be mad at me, but there was a lack of really appreciating and understanding why I was to obey.”
“What’s the ‘why’?” I asked.
“Love,” was Stan’s one-word answer.
“Love?” I responded. “Love of what?”
“God the Father,” Stan replied. “And God the Son, Jesus, as well as the love of the Holy Spirit that flows in and through me.”
“If my obedience to God is based on anything other than my love for Him,” he continued, “I think that my obedience is just based on legalism. I am seeking to obey on my own power as an obligation, rather than as a something that flows out of my love of God. If my obedience is not out of love, but out of a sense of obligation, it is likely I will soon tire of that obligation.”
“However,” he added, “if my obedience to what God wants is based on an ever-deepening love for Him that comes from my growing relationship with Him, my obedience will flow naturally out of that love. As well, the more I love God, the more my obedience will occur without having to decide, ‘Am I going to obey or not?’ It will just flow.”
“For me,” Stan concluded, “it is essential that I examine my obedience, as well as my disobedience, to check its source. Is the obedience flowing from my love for God or from my self-efforts to look or feel good? As well, I need to focus on my disobedience, even though it is much easier to see where that comes from.”
“Where?” I asked.
“Self, the world, the flesh, and the devil,” Stan replied. “All the stuff in me that keeps me from loving God as He wants.”
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. John 14:15.
He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him. John 14:21.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you love me. Thank you that you so loved the world you sent your only begotten Son to provide the way to be reconciled to and with you. Thank you for showing me that my obedience to what you want and have for me is to be based on my love for you. I confess the times that my obedience flows from a sense of obligation, rather than it flowing only from my love of you. Please forgive me. And please, Father, lead me in loving you as deeply as humanly possible so that my obedience is based only on that love. Please help me in following your lead in allowing the love of the Holy Spirit’s fruit to flow in and through me to you and to every person you bring before me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.