In this scripture, Jesus equates loving him with obeying Him. People, as well as churches and church leaders, often gloss over this teaching. Obedience is usually taught to one of two extremes: too little teaching on it, or teaching on it like it is the way to salvation. Neither is true. Jesus said very plainly that those who do not love Him will not obey His teaching. So, if we love Him, we will obey him. Easy, right? Well….yes and no….
“I” Will Obey?
How can I do all that Jesus said I should do? And not do what He commands I stop doing? How can I obey Him? The beauty of salvation is that I can honestly, freely, and truthfully say: I cannot. I have no power, no wisdom, no moral compass, internal “goodness”, NOTHING that allows me to live as Jesus said I should live.
On the surface, His teachings leave me dejected, a failure, a real loser that cannot get through one hour, much less one minute, without sinning! Right from the start, right out of the gate, I have lost that race, failed miserably, and can say truthfully, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” (Romans 7:18)
If Not “I”, Then Who Will Obey?
“He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” (John 14:24a) Would Jesus give us such a tall standard to prove our love for Him, just to set us up for failure? I think not. But if “I” cannot obey, then how does one follow this teaching?
Simplicity, mystery, and beauty are found in the answer: Jesus. It is my savior, my Lord, my King, who lives in me (Colossians 1:27), who will do so! Because I am born again, and have received Jesus as my savior, He lives in me to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13), to make me what He teaches me to be!
Call to Action
Do not gloss over the mystery of Christ in you! Ponder it every day this week, and pray that Christ will live out His teachings in you! Be prepared to be prompted and guided by the Holy Spirit like you never have been before, and be quick to obey when you are called to do something, stop doing something, or just called to wait on the Lord. It is obedience (not your own efforts) that will make the mystery of Christ in you a reality in your everyday life.
As you obey, you will hear God’s Spirit more and more frequently, more and more clearly. As you hear more clearly, you will want to obey, and so goes the cycle of Christ living in you, to will and to do His good pleasure! It is a beautiful cycle that is repeated in the heart and life of someone who is born again and yielded to the Spirit within. It is the beauty of yielded, submissive, loving obedience as you let something besides yourself be your guide.
Are you ready to let your “I” go, and live out this teaching?