If you had to sum up the whole Bible in two sentences, what would you say? That’s sort of tough because there is so much in there. But that is sort of the question Jesus’ was asked by a religious guru in his day. In Matthew 22:34-40 an expert in religious law asks Jesus which is the most important commandment in the law. This was sort of a trick question because how Jesus responded could have gotten him in trouble. And if he said one commandment but not another, did that mean those other commandments were not that important?
Listen to how Jesus responds. “‘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 neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus sort of said, “Here is the core of it all. Everything else hinges on these two things.”
Maybe you have heard those words before. I am guessing you have. But here is an important follow up question. How do you actually love God? What does it look like in your life to truly love God? It’s one thing to say you love God and it’s another thing altogether to actually live like you love God.
I was reflecting on that question recently in my devotions when God led me to two verses in two of John’s letters. Listen to these convicting words…
“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” – 2 John 1:6
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome…” – 1 John 5:3
So what does it look like to love God? To keep his commands. Obedience is the fruit of real love. Loving God always leads to real obedience in the Christian life. You can say you love God, but if you really love him, you will do what he says. Jesus said quite directly to his disciples in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”
And yet sometimes I think we are under the impression that following God’s ways or keeping his commands is going to be super hard. But look at the end of 1 John 5:3. “And his commands are not burdensome.” I love that. We act like obeying Christ is a drag. It takes away the fun of life. It is a terrible burden to bear. But that is simply not the truth. Sure, following Jesus is challenging. Learning to walk in His ways is hard. But that is nothing compared to the infinite weight of following your own way and walking the path of sin. When you try to be your own God, the weight of the world rests on your back. When you surrender to Jesus, he bears the weight of sin and you simply walk in his footsteps.
So often I wonder if we think obedience to Christ is just too costly or too great a burden. In reality, it’s obedience to Christ that leads to true and ultimate freedom! It turns out that loving God by obeying his commands is actually a gift of love for us. God loves us so much. He designed us and knows how we can best flourish. Learning to love God with total obedience is God’s gift of love that allows us to experience the fullness of life we’ve always longed for. So what about you? Are you ready to love God in obedience? His commands are not burdensome…they will actually set you free!