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If You Love Me . . .

Early in our marriage, my husband and I took his younger brother, Daniel, out to eat pizza. He was about eight years old at the time. While we were ordering, I noticed that Daniel had brought a small toy car and was rolling it along the table. Gradually the car’s “road trips” moved farther along the table’s borders. When I noticed Daniel on all fours, driving the car across the restaurant’s dirty floor, I asked him to get up off the floor. He looked at me in wide-eyed amazement, and with total sincerity replied, “I’m not on the floor!”

We had to smother our laughter. What a perfect illustration of childish obstinacy! Recalling that scene reminds me of my own sinful behavior. How often do I say the words, “I love You, Lord” while my actions deny that statement?

Words have meaning. When my actions contradict my words, it invalidates my speech.

[box]Jesus gave us the prescription for demonstrating our love for God when He told us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).[/box]

Love for God is directly linked with obedience to Him. I’ve found that obedience, although difficult at times, comes far more easily when I focus on His love for me. When I focus on His enormous love and gracious mercy toward me, it compels me to respond in obedience.

This is how Paul described it:

[box]For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:14–15)[/box]

Out of gratitude for His substitutionary death, and His great demonstration of love toward me, I desire to return His love by walking in obedience to Him.

What do you think? Does love equal obedience?

Are your actions matching up with what your mouth claims to believe?

What is your motive for obedience to God?

How is God asking you to obey Him out of love today?

4 Comments

  • Pauline

    Dear Kim, I just had to take a few minutes out of my busy schedule to let you know, once again, how much I appreciate your posts. I have shared several of them with my daughters, sisters and friends, and I know that what you write resonates with the hearts of women. God is doing a great work in and through your life and I thank Him for it. In regards to today’s post on love and obedience, I recently had a choice to make. While caring for my parents one week, my dad yelled at me in anger about something that he wanted done. It so surprised me and I surprised myself when I responded firmly and told him that he didn’t need to be angry with me and that I didn’t appreciate it at all. He said “sorry” and began to cry, and I proceeded to tell him that I love him and wasn’t meaning to disrespect him. I was just wanting to do what was right. You see, my dad has often had a short fuse, but I have never spoken back, always having been too afraid. Over the years I’ve always tried to do my best not to make dad angry. I can’t really seem to find the words to express how that whole incident has made me feel, and I have wrestled over why it has bothered me so much. It still brings tears to my eyes and I want to cry. I found myself being angry with him and not liking him and feeling as though I didn’t want to continue taking care of him. Over the course of the following week, the Lord spoke to my heart and brought to remembrance what He has done for me. He brought a message to me from Hosea, and I heard His still small voice tell me to go back and love my father and be His hands and feet and voice, as I minister to dad in his time of need. Love for God is truly the compelling force for obedience to Him. He has helped me, once again, to see that it’s not about me. It’s all about Him. My dad (and my mom)is going through a difficult time, and I need to be sensitive to that. He needs my understanding and my compassion. He needs to experience God’s love for him through my care of him. One of the things my siblings and I have had to do for both our parents is care for their feet. Each time I tend to them, I think of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. Amazingly, the other day, my dad was offering to try to care for mom’s feet. God is working in his heart. Love is powerful; it changes hearts. I praise God that He is love and that he has changed my heart. Blessings to you! Pauline

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Pauline ~

    Thank you so much for your precious comment and encouragement. I’m so thankful when I hear from a reader that God uses a post in their life. Thank you for sharing some about your recent struggle with anger. I understand the challenges of caring for an invalid loved one. Not only is it very physically draining, but it can be quite emotionally depleting. You are right to adjust your focus to the big picture and consider that your service to your parents are demonstrations of God’s love to them. I pray that He will continue to provide you with the grace and patience to live out 1 John 3:16 to them:

    “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for others”

    Blessings dear friend ~

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Aimee ~

    Good to hear from you! We all struggle, none of us have arrived. But I am thankful that God is faithful to continue to grow us as we cry out to Him for grace, as we renew our thinking by soaking up His Word, and then apply that truth to our lives. We also can’t grow in Christ on our own, we need an encouraging community of believers surrounding us, supporting us, and holding us accountable. I’m thankful you have that, you have a strong church family. I hope you also have a few solid friends that know how you struggle and will be faithful truth speakers in your life.

    Pausing to pray for you now, Aimee ~