WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 26, 2022
TOPIC: IF YOU LOVE GOD, YOU WILL OBEY HIM
BY T. O. BANSO
“If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15 New Century Version).
There are things you do for people because you love them. You can be motivated to do some things for certain people in your life because of the love you have for them. The reason many people find it difficult to obey God is that they don’t love Him. If they love Him, they won’t have any problem obeying Him. They will obey Him because they love Him, not because of the fear of the consequences of disobedience.
The solution to disobedience to God is to love Him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands” (John 14:15 New Century Version). The New King James Version and some other translations use the word “keep” instead of the phrase “you will obey.” “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (New King James Version).
The reason many people struggle with obeying the Word of God is that they’ve not fallen in love with Him. Jesus said in John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (New King James Version).
He continued in verses 23-24: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me” (New King James Version). Do you do what God says?
Do you love God? Are you in love with Him? 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (New King James Version). Keep God’s Word. God is not against you. He loves you. His commandments are not to harm you. They are for your own good. Obeying His Word is in your own interest. Obey Him because you love Him, not because of the punishment disobedience attracts.
Do you love God? In John 21, Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, asked Peter if he loved Him more than the other disciples. Peter answered in the affirmative three times. The question was necessary apparently because Peter was to be the leader of the disciples. If he must take over from Jesus to lead the other disciples, he must love Jesus and His cause more than those he was to lead.
The Bible had recorded previously Peter’s declaration of his love for Jesus. He even said that he could die with Him (John 13:36-38; Matthew 26:31-35). But despite His assurances, Peter went ahead to deny Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). And three times, in John 21, he declared his love for Jesus. However, the Greek word he used for love was different from the word Jesus used.
The Amplified Bible tries to bring out the difference in the usage of the word “love” by Jesus and “love” by Peter. By love, Jesus meant if Peter loved Him “with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father.” But by love, Peter was saying to Jesus he had “a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend.” Could it be that Jesus and Peter were not saying the same thing? The Bible says Peter was grieved (saddened and hurt) because Jesus asked him the same question the third time. Peter was not grieved because Jesus used a different word for love twice previously.
The first and second times Jesus asked if Peter loved him, Jesus used the Greek word, agapao, meaning, “ardently supremely, perfectly.” And Peter answered with phileo, meaning “to like, be fond of, feel friendship for another.” The third time Jesus used phileo – love (phileo) thou me? Peter had used phileo in his answers two times earlier and this made him feel hurt.
Please notice the progression of the questions: (1) Do you love (agapao) me more than these? (Comparison) (2) Do you love (agapao) me? (3) Do you love (phileo) me? Take note of Peter’s answer the third time “Lord thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love [phileo] thee” (King James Version).
Whereas some Bible scholars try to bring out the difference between agape love and phileo love, other scholars warn against the over-interpretation of these two Greek words, which they argue can be regarded as synonyms. They contend that usage depends on the context, as God can love with both agape love (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 9:7) and phileo love (John 5:20; 16:27). They submit that agape should not be exclusively defined as God’s kind of love or unconditional love, as sinners can also love others with agape love (Matthew 5:46; Luke 6:32). Even the Pharisees agapao (love) the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces (Luke 11:43). Other Bible verses support this position.
Nevertheless, the important thing in John 21, which we must not miss, is that Peter who had denied Jesus three times confirmed his love for Him three times and Jesus reinstated him into the ministry. Peter loved Jesus.
If you love God, you will delight to obey His Word. His Word is His will. David said in Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (New King James Version). The writer of Psalm 119 says, “I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (verse 16 New King James Version). He says in verse 24, “Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” Verse 35 says, “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it.”
In his prophecy, regarding Jesus Christ, Isaiah said, “His greatest joy will be to obey the LORD” (Isaiah 11:3a Contemporary English Version). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “He will delight in obeying the LORD.” Let your greatest joy be to obey God. Delight in obeying Him. Love Him. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).
Mark and Luke say a similar thing with a slight variation. Instead of “with all your heart, soul, and mind”, Mark 12:30 says, “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” while Luke 10:27 says, “with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” All these scriptures are saying the same thing.
Do you love God? If you love God, you will obey Him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to love You and to obey you because of my love for You. Holy Spirit, help me such that my greatest joy will be to obey the Lord.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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