C.S. Lewis said, “Obedience is the key that opens every door.” But how do we obey Jesus without falling into the grip of legalism? We cannot miss the fact that it was from the depths of Jesus’ pure love that He spoke the words, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
Just as Jesus’ obedience to His father was from the overflow of His love for the Father, so our love for Jesus is directly tied to our obedience. Our motivation for being obedient to Jesus should not come from an effort to seek justification before God. Rather, we obey Jesus’ words because of our gratitude for what He has done for us on the cross. We seek to please Him because He is the one “who loved us and gave Himself up for us” (Eph. 5:2; Gal. 2:20). It is with this “obedience of love” that we as Christ followers should approach each day. John Stott once said, “The test of love is obedience, and the reward of love is the self-manifestation of Christ.” This guarantee of personal intimacy with the Father and the Son, empowered by the Spirit, leads us to the very center of real life: a life of grace that is free from law, a life in which our will falls in line with God’s will, and from our joy we strive to please Him in all things.
This is the pattern for all Christ followers that have come to a living faith in Jesus. If we want to enjoy the fullness of this life, we must embrace the obedience of faith and love and daily seek to walk by the Holy Spirit, through whom all these blessings come (Gal. 5:16–25).
Other verses: 1 John 5:2-3; 2 John 1:6, John 15:10-14
In prayerful meditation upon Jesus’ words, let us ask the Sprit to teach us and transform us more and more into His image.