“You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you” John 15:14
Has your best friend ever told you, “If you love me, you must always do what I tell you?” Or….“You are my friend, if you do whatever I order you to do?”
Jesus has put such stipulations on His friendship. This is what sets fellowship with the Lord Jesus apart from all earthly camaraderie. While earthly friendships may be unconditional, it is different with Christ. The “if” in this verse separates nominal Christians from serious ones. “If you love Me”, said Jesus, “prove it.” We can sing choruses about how much we love Him until we are blue in the face, but unless we obey His teachings, it’s like a clanging bell (I Cor.13:1).
Jesus is informing His disciples He must leave them soon. He has spoken of their obligation to love one another. Now He addresses the subject of their love for Him. He is heading for Calvary. But He tells them not to show their affection for Him by grieving, but by obedience. Jesus says their feelings for Him are to be manifested, not by sentimentality, but by compliance with His will. Obedience to all He has taught them will be the proactive motivator by which their lives are governed. Love for God is shown in pragmatic ways…..or it is not love at all.
Just as a child demonstrates love for parents by willing, unhesitating obedience, so we demonstrate our love for Jesus. In the mind of Christ, love and obedience are inseparably linked. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (I John 5:3). We can expect answers to prayers only if we are seriously committed to the Lord. “Whatever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments” (I John 3:22). His teachings are commands…..not suggestions.
Several things should be kept in mind:
1. Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our Master.
2. Obedience to His teachings is essential, not optional.
3. Though it is often hard to obey His will, He has given us His Holy Spirit to help us.
4. Jesus assumes those who love Him will want to obey Him.
5. Daily, voluntary obedience to Christ proves the validity of this verse.
6. Jesus did not say “If you are afraid of Me, you will keep my commandments”
for love, not fear, must be our motivation.
In contemporary Christianity, many engage in “law-bashing” by misquoting such passages as “We are not under law, but under grace”. Jesus clears up that theology here. We continue to receive His grace only as we continue to obey His laws. At Sinai in the Old Testament, God tells us to keep His commands. In the New Testament, we are commanded to keep the laws of Jesus. Jesus sums up the entire Old and New Testaments when He tells us that the first and second commandments are to love God and love each other (Mark 12:30-31). When you realize Jesus’ teachings are as binding as the Ten Commandments, you are on safe and holy ground.
“If you love Me, keep my words and do what I order.” (John 14:15). The word “keep” means “to preserve in your heart by careful watching”. Obedience to Christ is the test of love. It’s not a tough quiz to pass, for those who do not love Jesus will not obey His teachings. They have no reason to. But “we love Him because He first loved us” (I John 4:19).
But how are we to constantly obey Jesus when many of His commands are so tough? Jesus gives the answer in John 14:16. “And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter that He may abide with you forever.” God has given us His precious Holy Spirit to enable us to obey Him and to handle all the accompanying persecution. We can only expect the Spirit’s help as we are determined to obey Christ.
Thank God for the tremendous privilege to be ruled and advised daily by the Spirit of God.