To Love and Obey

As is sometimes the case, our Sunday morning series and Wednesday night auditorium class crossed paths recently with a topic that is found throughout scripture: love. We talked about love as a fruit of the spirit two weeks ago on Sunday morning, and 1 John has come back to the topic multiple times in our Wednesday night study. This week love for God and obedience to Him are connected in 1 John 5.
We know that the greatest commands are to love God and love people, but we often forget a third kind of love that is taught in scripture. In his book, Conformed to His Image, Kenneth Boa writes about what the spiritual life of a Christian should look like. He talks about love in terms of relational spirituality, and he breaks it down into three basic categories we find in the Bible.
1. Loving God Completely. A big part of this is obedience, as we discussed in class Wednesday night. Boa explains why it makes sense that this obedience is directly connected to our love for God and His love for us. “As we grow to know and love God, we learn that we can trust His character, promises and precepts. Whenever He asks us to avoid something, it is because He knows that it is not in our best interests. And whenever He asks us to do something, it is always because it will lead to greater good. If we are committed to following hard after God, we must do the things he tells us to do. But the risk of obedience is that it will often make no sense to us at the time.”
2. Loving Ourselves Correctly. We often miss this step when Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:39 to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We focus on the loving our neighbor part, but we have to remember that we should also love ourselves. In his book, Boa describes what the Bible teaches about self-love in this way: “Loving ourselves correctly means seeing ourselves as God sees us.” God sees us realistically, but He also sees us as children He loves who have been set free because of His Son.
3. Loving Others Compassionately. We should not only see ourselves as God sees us, we need to see others as He sees them. 1 John 5 reminds us that the way we show this love is part of our testimony about God. Boa echoes the words of John. “Our faith in the work Christ accomplished for us in the past and our hope of the future completion of this work when we see Him are demonstrated in the present through the choices and works of love. The more we love God, the more we will express His transcendent love in others-centered deeds of kindness and goodness.”
Let’s all take every opportunity to love and obey God this week.
– Brian
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7

Leave a Reply