What is the relationship between love and obedience? We can certainly obey someone we don’t love. As a general rule, that obedience is more out of sense of duty or responsibility. But, can we really love someone and not obey them? If our obedience is to sinful man, the answer might be yes. After all, a sinful person might want us to do something sinful. In that case we can both love them and disobey them. But how about in our relationship with a holy God? The Scriptures speak often on this subject.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:3
The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
1 John 2:4–6
Far too often Christians justify a lack of obedience with excuses like being too busy or having too much responsibility, etc. It is easy to think that disobedience is primarily doing things that we know are sinful and then fail to remember that disobedience is also not doing what has been commanded.
What is the real issue when we choose to disobey? It has to do with our love. Rather than talking about not enough time, which sounds somewhat respectable, we should be honest with ourselves. We do not love God as we should. When this is the case, we can also conclude that we love other things or people more than we love God – which is idolatry. An honest assessment of our priorities is essential if we are ever to grow as we should.
A biblical love relationship with our God will always lead to joyful obedience!
In lieu of a comments section, I accept and encourage letters to the editor. If you would like to write a letter to the editor, you can do so here.