So, how can we obey Christ's commandments?
We must remember that He loves us.
What motivates us to help out when we don't feel like it? It's often because we love the other person. Why? It could very well be because they love us in return.
But that's not how Christ calls us to love nor is it how He loves. His is a self-sacrificing love, as is ours to be.
When we remember how much He loves us, it will empower us to love as He does. We can say what Paul did in Galatians 2:20, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
We can only obey if we remember we can't do it on our own.
Jesus says in John 14:17, "… even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."
In John 14:23, Jesus goes on to say, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we [Jesus and the Father] will come to him and make our home with him."
The triune God dwells within His children. He guides us, teaches us, and goes before us. We can put our complete trust in Him, no matter what our circumstances, and draw on His strength to live a life of obedience.
We must remember the depth of Jesus's love for His Father.
John 14:31 says, "But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here."
Jesus did not look forward to the cross, to dying in excruciating pain, to being separated from His Father. So, why did Jesus do it? Because He was obedient to the Father; He loved the Father. The real test of obedience to God's Word is being obedient when we don't want to be.
It's much easier to obey God's Word when life is good. But when trials come … That's when we show who we actually rely on, who we truly love. And when we obey God's Word, it shows that we love Jesus.
Three things happen when we show our love for Him.
When we're obedient to His Word, the Father and the Son love us in return.
Of course, Romans 5:8 is true. Jesus loved us when we were still sinners.
But we must consider His words in John 14:21 as well. "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
He is saying, "In order to experience My presence and My love on a deeper level, you must obey My commands."
When we obey, He reveals more of Himself to us.
Let's read verse 21 again, "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
I want you to think of someone you trust completely. Someone you can be yourself around. No walls. No filters. You feel comfortable and safe. How did this develop? Did it happen overnight? No.
Do we trust everyone this way? Do we share openly and honestly with everyone who crosses our path? Of course not. We only share the deep parts of who we are with someone we trust.
The same is true of our relationship with Jesus. He reveals more and more of who He is when we obey His Word. Now, I'm not talking about secret, mystical knowledge. I'm talking about Jesus revealing more and more of who He is through His Word. When we dive deeply into the infinite depths of God's Word, the Lord reveals more and more of who He is and we receive a deeper revelation of Christ, which comforts our souls in times of trouble.
When we obey, we get to enjoy a relationship with God the world can never experience.
Even Jesus's disciples didn't understand what He meant when He said He would manifest Himself to those who obeyed. They thought He would take His place as their earthly king. They didn't understand that His kingdom wasn't of this world, that He wouldn't "manifest Himself" to everyone.
Jesus says in John 14:24, "Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me."
If we reject Jesus, we reject God Himself. The Lord will not reveal Himself to people who reject Him. Only those who are obedient to His Word enjoy an intimate relationship with Him the world will never know.
Have you gone through hard times and not experienced comfort from the Lord? It's possible your relationship with Him is lacking. It's possible you're not obeying His Word like you ought to.
We all have things we need to work on. But if we're not experiencing the presence of Christ, if we're not feeling His comfort in times of trouble, it's possible we're not being obedient to His Word. We must evaluate our life and ask God to reveal what needs to change.
Jesus promises that when we obey His Word, especially in times of trouble, we not only get to know Him on a deep, intimate level but also experience His comfort. Obedience isn't easy, especially when we go through difficult situations. But that's why we have the Helper. That's why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. He empowers us to obey. He guides and comforts us in times of trouble.