If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)

IN THE HOME, smart parents have established rules and guidelines that the children have to abide by. If they choose to obey, all is well. If they choose not to obey, then things tend to get a little uneasy. It’s the same way in society. We have laws that require certain behavior, and if those laws are not observed, a penalty will be enforced. In our Christian walk, the Bible is full of guidelines, rules, and counsel on how one should live and honor and glorify God. Anyone who is passionate about following Christ understands the need for spiritual disciplines and obedience. However, Jesus never intended that His relationship with us be rooted in obedience. If all we ever do is follow a list of dos and don’ts spelled out in God’s Word, we will not last long. His intention is to have a relationship with us that comes from love. Because of His love, He will never abandon us; He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell us; and He prepares a place for us with Him.

In John 14:15–29, Jesus said multiple times, “The one who loves me is the one who obeys me.” If you are struggling to live up to God’s Word, to follow His teaching, or to stay true to God’s plan for you, perhaps your issue is not with obedience, but with love. Jesus wants to be in a right relationship with you. Focus on His goodness and His desire to be with you, and out of love for the Father you will walk in obedience.

Prayerfully ask God to show you where obedience in your life can be the result of love.

Scott Simmons is the author of iFollow: Connecting Belief and Behavior to Who You Are in Christ (WPH) and the youth ministry movement director for The Wesleyan Church.