Love to Obey
“The problem today is the church is not one of ignorance but of obedience”, a statement made by CB Samuel during his devotion presented on Friday 14th September 2012. He continued by saying that “if we obey just the little we know the world would be a better place.”
1 Samuel 15:22 …”to obey is better than sacrifice..”
This last week I asked myself the question “How do I know I love the Lord?” It is not a fuzzy emotional feeling, (though emotion has a part to play), that convinces me that I love God. One can obey another yet not necessarily love the person your are obeying.
Matthew 22:36-40 - “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
With all my heart: when discussing the heart in the New Testament it refers to one’s inner core will. One’s ability to choose. The centre of my being – the freedom to choose.
With all my soul: this is concerning my emotions and feelings, my passion and desire.
With all my strength: this is concerning my physical ability, my energy, my time, my skills, gifts.
Interestingly, Jesus states that the second (love your neighbour) is equal / like the first.
One cannot love God and not obey all he has taught us. God loves us and wants us to live life in all its fullness.
Love for God is something that grows and develops as I learn to obey and walk in his ways. We often think that if I learn to love first then my behaviour will change. The amazing reality is that as I choose to behave lovingly and obediently so my love grows. The commandment of love produces the emotions of love. Luke 6:46 – Jesus says “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?” Thus loving God is entwined with action / obedience, outworked as we practically love our neighbour.
So, the question then evolves - do I choose each day to follow the Lord obediently, with all my energy, passion, strength and capacity.
I have noticed that as I obey and serve so my love and passion grows. It is not the other way around (waiting for the feeling of love before acting). It is in serving that I learn about love.
As we take time to pray together, to intercede for the issues listed below, let us also ask God to teach us to love him, to choose obedience. Let us do so!
Lord, we choose to follow your ways, to live lives that demonstrate your values, to serve all who are in need and to declare your love to our world, calling people back to your way.