The Obedience Conundrum

“If you love me you will obey my commands.” John 14:15

Obedience. It’s one of those tricky words in modern speech. To obey someone is frightening because it requires a ton of trust. And who on earth is completely trustworthy?

Then there are those of us who have had our trust violated. It’s so difficult to conceive obedience after violated trust. We walk on eggshells around most everyone and carry a fat and defensive ‘no.’

There are some of us who are obedient to a fault. We’re asked to do something and our compliance is immediate, sometimes without thinking through the implications and consequences. I lived way too many years in that default. The weight of that heavy expectation crushed me.

For years, the only other option seemed to be rebellion.

Is obedience an all or nothing venture?

It certainly seems that way in this verse. I couldn’t say that I loved Jesus if I didn’t obey Him. And I’m sure He’s not talking about a buffet obedience where I could pick and choose what to obey.

So I gave this considerable thought.

Was Jesus saying that obedience is His love language?

No. He’s saying that obedience is the litmus test. Obedience is what shows that we’re already loving Him. It shows that we think His ideas are good. It shows that we think He is good. And if our character is shown by our actions, our love for Jesus is shown by obedience.

Notice how He doesn’t say to obey everyone. You might find comfort in that. I do.

And we obey someone who demonstrated obedience first:

“I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” John 14:31

So we don’t obey to prove that we love, we obey because we’re already in love.

And what a trustworthy One to be in love with!

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