For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments…
1 John 5:3
Once upon a time I thought that to prove my love for God I must obey Him perfectly.
When I failed to obey, which was often, I would chastise myself and try harder. Always striving to follow the letter of His law and earn His approval and love. And I would quake thinking that He was angry and punishment was sure to follow.
But I was so wrong.
God is not out to get me, or you. God is out to give.
He freely gives His love to all of us. And this love is a pure, divine grace that flows to me and you all the time regardless of our achievements or failures.
And the only way that we can come to love and obey Him by heart is by falling deeply in love with the One who is love as we understand how much he first loves us.
As with any romantic relationship or even friendship, there’s that first meeting. Time is spent getting to know each other. Warm and tender feelings begin to emerge until one day we realize we cannot live without this person for we have fallen head over heels in love with them.
We marry, vowing the rest of our lives to this one special someone. And we begin a daily journey of getting to know and love our husband or wife on an ever deepening level. Trust increases and we relax the tension of trying too hard and perfect the art of giving more than is asked.
Years of better and worse will pass and we keep loving them more if our hearts are set on staying the course and investing in the relationship. Appreciating the gift of loving one special someone and being loved in return, we will continue to yield our hearts and give our time to protect and nurture the relationship.
And the love we share will grow ever more precious.
The same is true with our heavenly Father.
We meet Him, we know Him, we fall for Him responding to His great love that has waited for us, and then as our trust grows knowing that we are loved with an unconditional love that will never forsake us, our hearts can’t help but surrender and respond in kind.
And in love we will love and serve Him and others ever more joyfully.
Because the love is real and His love completes us, filling up the cracks from where our heart has broken, or when we chose not to forgive someone allowing bitterness to take root, or from selfishly allowing self to rule instead of our Maker.
God is love and love is from God and we love because He first loved us.
We cannot really, truly love without Him.
And when we understand deep down in our bones that He loves us…that He has good intentions for our lives, that He is our constant companion, helper and guide who is ever for us, on our side…we will stop picking the opposing side of striving to serve self and the world.
Being good for goodness sake will become second nature.
And His commandments will not be hard to bear because our hearts have lost their hardness. No longer will we grit our teeth to obey. Fear will depart and obedience will become our heart’s default.
When we no longer are lacking in love, running on empty, desperately grasping at whatever comes our way to fill that gaping black ache in our hearts, joy will overflow and we will look for ways to love better…to be kinder, gentler with more patience and less arrogance.
Words of love will spill from our lips once our hearts are full of love. We will accept others where they are and love them in spite of the weaknesses that we all have. We will willingly drop lower in service to others, putting their needs and desires ahead of our own.
We will do all these things and one day it will dawn that we are loving and obeying and living according to the the spirit of the law.
And it will make us happy, even if we get nothing in return except the sweet assurance that our loving obedience has blessed God.
Everything hinges on Love.
And the inward transformation of our hearts by God’s grace of love allows us to obey with joy.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
Gladly so because we love Him…
Today’s post is part of a 31 day series called First comes Love…
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