Today, I am continuing the series on, Reading the Bible. This post looks at what it means to be obedient.

When you listen to some Christians talk you would think Jesus said, “Perfectly obey my commands, and then I will love you.” This isn’t what Scripture teaches. Rather we read, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Love for God isn’t something we whip up, but rather grows when we realize how much God loves us.

Jesus would later say to his disciples: “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). He is saying the way to show our love for God is through our obedience. It’s a response, not a way of gaining God’s approval. This is the same thing God said to the Israelites in Old Testament times. We looked at this in previous posts.

John also writes about this in his Gospel, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). The Word of God sanctifies us as we read it, as we listen to it being taught, as we meditate upon it and as we seek to incorporate it into our daily lives. It has a refining effect on our attitudes and motives. We learn obedience as we grow in our love for God and as his word works in our lives.

“When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).