Love and Obedience


By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.
And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.

I John 5:2-4 ESV


To be obedient is to choose joy, that is, utter reality. And the choosing of joy is, of course, the choosing of Love Himself. St. John says that loving God and obeying Him is proof that we love our brothers and sisters; and conversely, that loving our brothers and sisters is proof that we love God. To step outside the Great Dance is to step outside of Love and back into the hell of self and separation; it is to step from the co-inherence of all things, animated by the Love of God, back into in-coherence. We see, therefore, that love and the choice to obey are inextricably intertwined and related. We choose to love God and others; or, pridefully, we choose self-love instead. [1]

Love and obedience are inseparable. What a radical truth! In a world averse to commandments, we followers of Christ remain in reality – there is no love apart from submission to God and His glorious ways. Although rebellion against Him abounds in this world, praise God that He does yet have sons and daughters who stick to the ancient paths. Some may brand us “haters,” but keepers of the Way are in fact true lovers, indwelt by Love Himself. To keep His commandments is to watchfully care over them, to hold to them firmly even when under assault, and to carry them out continually. Each way that we remember His commands and order our lives in submission to His guidance is an act of love for God and all His children. So the next time you meditate on His word, whether you’re in a solitary place or gathered with others, I pray you will know His face shining upon you. For truly, each humble, simple choice that keeps His word active in our lives places us in love with Love Himself.
Holy God, we thank you for the goodness of Your ways.  We thank you for the gift of the Holy Scriptures.  We thank You for putting Your law in our hearts.  What a privilege it is to love You, who loved us first.  Let us know more fully the glory of Your Great Dance with us, and rejoice more fully in our participation in it.  Receive our humble offerings of obedience, and bless them with Your love and power.  Correct us quickly in our strayings, and lead us back into reality with Your mercy.  Love Your world through us as we abide in You.

[1] Leanne Payne, Real Presence (Grand Rapids, Hamewith Books, 1995), 82.
Fresco:  The Sermon on the Mount 1437 Fra Angelico [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the books and ministry of Leanne Payne.