Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why do we obey? (Continued)

We're still studying in John 14, and we're focusing on verses 15, 21-24.  We're continuing to explore why we obey our Lord's commands . . . what motivates us?

"Keep my commands . . ."  What is our real motivation for obedience?  Is it because we feel we have no other choice?  People who feel this way are begrudging about their obedience. They aren't happy about it. They often fall into the pattern of legalistic thoughts, and they impose rules for how they live, how they do most everything.
What does this look like in today's world?
The same way it looked in Jesus' world -- remember the Pharisees?
Just like the Pharisees of old, people today who obey because they feel they have no choice (kinda do or die, you know) will have strict rules for righteousness. They'll sure look good. They will be super careful about everything they do; they will tell you there is a rule or a verse for everything. They will even tell you how much they love God . . . but they might also find time to tell you that you don't love Him enough. After all, you missed the mark; you did this and that, or you didn't do something you needed to. Self-righteous people are often very critical of others.

Jesus took on the Pharisees of His day. After all, as the Bible says, God sees the heart; Jesus could look beyond their self-imposed righteousness and see the true condition of their hearts.

                Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You
                are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on
                the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the
                same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the
                inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.  (Matthew 23:27-28)

Ahem. Yes, we need to realize that none of us will be able to deceive God. We can't pull the wool over His eyes. He won't be fooled by any claims of loving devotion when He sees self-imposed righteousness in our hearts.

But here is where we come to the "good part." Here is where all of us hope we are, right? The fourth kind of obedience, the fourth motivation for obeying is an overflow of a loving heart.

                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.
               II John 1:6

You see, love is key. It's vitally important. A heart that fully loves Christ will produce a life that is marked by obedience to His word. Our lives will shine as witnesses to His grace. We'll talk tomorrow about this when we conclude our study of this passage.  I've looked ahead, and I have my bandaids at the ready. (Grin)

1 comment:

Belinda said...

Brain is a bit muddled right now, but I wanted to comment.
Following the law, Christ's commands, etc. is important, but the main thing is the motivation behind it. Faith without works is a dead faith, but works without faith are useless.