Loving and Obeying
1 May 2011
In most areas of life the old saying: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” is more often than not an excellent encouragement. In our spiritual lives however it sometimes seems like there are so many “main” things that our head can feel like it is in a gigantic fog. It is not our plan to attempt to clear this up this fog, but we will attempt to provide a small flashlight to give perhaps a few feet of visibility in the midst of this murkiness.
God tells us in His revealed word what is His greatest command [ Matthew 22:38 (NLT)]
This is the first and greatest commandment). Thisof course refers to the verse immediately preceding: Matthew 22:37 (NLT) ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’
How do we do this? Is it possible for a low life, sin-inclined human to love the Lord our God with all his heart and soul and mind? The answer is NO! Wait, the flashlight batteries are getting weak and the miasma is pushing in with renewed strength. Wait, here is a new battery: Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
“ For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Even though we understand that God’s ways and His thoughts are not like ours, it seems clear that if God desires, as evidenced by His primary command that we love Him with all of our heart and soul and mind, and if God is at work giving us both the desire and means to do what pleases Him, it seems to follow that He alone can give us the desire and means to love Him as He has commanded. It must be true that we can love God with all of our heart and mind and soul with the love He gives us. Since God has in some mysterious way a primary originating part in our love for Him given that we are told in His word: “We love Him, because He first loved us.” -1 John 4:19 (AMP)
Yet love is always a choice; the very nature of love always involves choice. So it must be proper to understand these things by means of the intentional illumination of our choices. Woops, looks like our batteries are getting weak again. What are the correct questions? Where do we find the strength and wisdom and power to choose to love correctly? Surly not just any kind of love is adequate to be described as love that encapsulates the entirety our hearts and minds and souls.
Jesus speaking in John 15:9-14 (AMP) instructs us: “I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love. I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.”
So far a little light seems to have revealed that we do have a command to love God. We have resources to enable us to do this, and we must choose to love God as love is a choice and God will help us make this choice. We are to abide in the love that God provides for us. We must keep choosing to obey God’s commands if we are to abide in His love and lastly we must love one another in the same fashion that Jesus loves us. So now what is the main thing?
Is there a place to start? Our flashlight beam seems to be focused on a figure on his knees in prayer. He believes for all of us that if we ask for and believe we will receive wisdom from God. He remembers that we are instructed to ask and seek and knock and promised that God will hear and answer, provide and open to us His incredible provisions. Then, what should we pray? This praying individual is praying something like this: “God since you have promised to work in me both to will and to do according to your good purposes, please work effectively in me to choose to love you more and obey you more often.
Everything that God says happens! God spoke and the world was formed. God spoke to Moses at the burning bush and told him each thing that would transpire as God prepared them and the Egyptians for the Exodus. Everything took place exactly as God had spoken. God further said as a sign when they came out of Egypt they would worship Him on this very mountain, the mountain of God. ( see Exodus chapters 3 & 4 ) Now God has said in His word:
“ For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”
This is happening right now in your life! God is at work. Why not ask God to do some of His promised work with the main things involved in your relationship, to love Him with all of your heart and mind and soul? Why not ask God to help you to obey Him like Jesus who said : "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.?” - John 6:38 (NASB95)
It is in our abiding in His love, loving Him with all of our hearts, and obeying Him as Jesus did, that we find unspeakable joy and pulsating power that brings life and light into our daily experience and witness. This is the kind of following and learning from Jesus that brings (from God) righteousness, fervency, and faith into our prayers. Oh how we need righteousness and fervency and faith in our prayers for revival!
As you pray for revival, please pray for yourself and for your pastor and for other like-minded brothers and sisters that we might experience God working in us both to will to love Him more and to do obey Him more completely. These prayers will bring more light into this dark world and more power into our prayers. And you can pray this prayer with a great deal faith since it is in accordance with God’s WORD. God delights to hear us pray His Word. Will you bring Him this pleasure?