by Mel Wild
Just how do we obey Jesus? And, for that matter, how do we actually do what Jesus did?
Secondly, what is the outcome of this obedience? I ask this because when you understand what I have to say, it will unlock the deepest desires of your heart!
A lot has been taught and written about obedience to Christ, but I submit to you that it’s both impossible for us to do in our strength and exceedingly simpler than you might imagine…and exceedingly better!
But you’re going to have to do one thing before understanding this wonderful news…
You will need to leave your legalistic orphan-hearted view of obedience and read Jesus’ words with fresh eyes of faith.
Can you do this?
Great! Let’s continue…
Jesus talked about obedience in His last discourse with His disciples before being betrayed in John’s gospel account (John 13:31-17:26). I will share what I believe to be the definitive passage here.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. ” (John 15:9-12)
The first thing I want you to see is Jesus’ statement about how we are loved by God. He is basically saying that He loves you the SAME as the Father loves Him. By the way, in John 17:23 we find out that the Father loves us the same as He loves Jesus. (“ I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me”)
So, just how much does the Father love Jesus?
Then, how much does God love you? Selah…
Next, in verse 10, Jesus makes the statement that defines our method of obedience. I want you to read this carefully…
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
So, what’s the first part of obeying Jesus? Right! we are to abide in His love…just as Jesus abided in His Father’s love.
I’ve said this in other posts, “abide” simply means to stay where you’ve been put. And where have you been put? That’s right, seated in heavenly places IN Christ (Eph.2:6; Col.3:3 – And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God).
And as I said in “Do you know where your mansion is?”, we are to abide in this abode–this dwelling place in God via the Holy Spirit.
This is Jesus’ answer to “What would Jesus do?”
Next, let’s skip down to verse 12. We see that we are to love one another just like Jesus loved us.
Again, how much does Jesus love us? The same as the Father loves Him.
So, how in God’s creation can we possibly love others the same way God loves us? (Which is, infinitely, by the way!)
Well, the answer is back in verse 9. We love others with God’s love. And we can only do this by first receiving God’s love (1 John 4:19 – we love because he first loved us). I talked about this in my post, “Everything with God starts by receiving.” You can go there for further explanation.
One more thing here. God’s infinite love is not conditional. For everything starts with God’s love for us, even when we didn’t want Him (Rom.5:8-10 – while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.).
So, let’s put this together using this picture. It illustrates our relationship with God and others so beautifully.
Imagine God’s love being the water, representing an endless ocean that has no shores or limits. The faucet, the tap, represents your heart.
So, how do we receive God’s endless supply of love? Right, we open our hearts (faucet) and let the love begin to flow into our hearts.
But I want you to look at another thing here. Where does the faucet flow into? Yes, this faucet of our heart pours God’s love back to God! Do you see that? A couple of points here…
Whose love is this again? Yes, God’s love. It’s not some performance trip on our part.
Can this love supply ever run dry? In a word, no.
We receive God’s love by opening our heart, it flows through us, overflowing out of us, and back to God. Get it?
This is what “abiding” looks like.
But it doesn’t end there.
Now, I want you to imagine someone else coming into contact with you. Imagine them being where the word, “Abiding” is.
What would this other person experience?
Right, They would be caught up in this endless overflowing love of God cycle between God’s ocean and your open faucet!
Do you see this?
I submit to you, this is how we obey Jesus. In fact. isn’t this what Jesus said is the greatest of all commandments, to which all others are subsumed? (Matt.22:37-40 – love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.). Paul tried to tell the legalistic Galatians the same thing (Gal.5:14 – love your neighbor as yourself).
One last thing….Why does Jesus want us to obey Him?
Because if we don’t He’ll punish us?
Because He’s God and we’re not?
Because that’s how you prove He’s Lord?
NO! NO!! NO!!!
Because He wants HIS joy to always be in you, so that your joy would be FULL! Now, go back to verse 11…
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Jesus wants you to be filled with HIS joy. Sort of like being filled with ALL the fullness that fills God! (Eph.3:19 – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.)
And just how “full” is that? Ha!
This is what obeying Jesus looks like.
Endless love, fullness of joy…which means true freedom (2 Cor.3:17 – Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom).
And I submit to you, if you’re not experiencing these things then you better take another look at how you define obedience.
Jesus is sending you the same way His Father sent Him (John 20:21 – so send I you). Now, go do what Jesus actually did….