John 14:23-24 23Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and he will come to him and make our home with him. 24He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
It is this simple…to love Jesus we are to obey his teaching. How do you know if someone loves Jesus? He/she obeys his teaching. How do I know I love Jesus? I obey his teaching.
How do we obey the teaching of Jesus? I want to be careful here and not journey down a path of legalism. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, Church members and Christians have put into “law” what following Jesus looks like. To obey the teachings and love Jesus is not some magical formula and/or a list of dos and don’ts. There are fundamental truths that we are to follow. The rest is looking at Jesus’ teaching and applying it to daily life.
Every time I examine where I am in following Jesus; I am compelled to go back to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. For me to go back to that set of teachings is fundamental. The passage is Jesus explaining how God intended life to be in the Kingdom. The core of what Jesus worked from is in the Sermon on the Mount.
The other side to recognize is in verse 24. Not only did Jesus tell us how to know someone loves him; he showed us how to know if someone does not love him. I do believe that Jesus is talking about overall character here. Obviously, we cannot follow every command at every moment. We will fail and sin. Many passages in the Bible talk about the heart. As we follow the teachings of Jesus, and do work on our heart, it becomes more and more obvious to us those people who do not follow the teachings of Jesus. It comes down to a question of character.
Our challenge as we strive to love Jesus is to build his teachings into our character. Obeying his teachings may not feel very loving at times. However, as I grow older, I realize that love is more than just an emotional response. Love asks for commitment, emotion, perseverance, and in the case of following Jesus…obedience.
1. What is your initial response to love requiring obedience to Jesus’ teaching?
2. When you understood that loving Jesus means to obey his teaching, in what way did you start thinking in terms of a legalistic mindset?
3. When you understood that loving Jesus means to obey his teaching, in what way did you find it freeing?
4. This week, examine your life and take an inventory. Where are you in integrity with this passage and where are you out of integrity with this passage?
5. Spend some time in prayer and ask Jesus to reveal to you parts of your life where you are following him and places you need work.
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