Love vs. Obedience

This morning I read this passage and it’s really reshaping some foundational thinking for me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally think like this. It’s just another example of how God’s thoughts are so far above our thoughts….

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

I don’t normally associate obedience with love. When I think about loving my husband, I think romantic thoughts about him, or I even get a bit spiritual and think about how I want to serve him. But I don’t think about how I LOVE doing what he asks me to do. Honestly, God has been convicting me lately of how often I argue with him, even if it’s subtle. Especially when I ask him if I can do something and I can tell he doesn’t really want me to do it, but doesn’t want to disappoint me, so he’s trying to say no in a roundabout way. I press and press to let him know how important it is to me, instead of laying down my rights and honoring the Lord by submitting to my husband. I know it’s not the action that counts so much. It’s the heart. God wants me to have a heart of LOVE, for Him and for my husband. And when I am pushing for my own way, I have a heart for myself. Yuck.

But the main point is this: the heart of this passionate prayer to Almighty God is a genuine love of obedience. Wow!! I know I don’t have that heart. And this passage makes me realize what I’m missing. I’m missing out on so much joy because I so often “do what God wants me to do” because I have to. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. I’m a Christian, we obey the Bible.

But there is so much more than that!! Oh Lord, give me heart like David to love to obey your commandments!!! And as far as I can see, Jesus laid out those commands in a pretty simple and straightforward way. And I like simple and straightforward, it’s about all my sleep-deprived, crazy overwhelmed brain can handle:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

God’s command is to love him and love people, something we don’t do nearly well enough. If we did, we would love to do it more. It’s the beauty of an infinite God who is infinitely good. There is always something more to love and admire and worship. The more we know him, the more we love him, and the more we love to obey him. Paul was right when he said:

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

(References: Psalm 119:9-16, Luke 10:27, 1 Cor 13:13)

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2 thoughts on “Love vs. Obedience

  1. I also found this connection between love and obedience to be something worth pondering. I happened to be reading in John, and it comes up in chapter 14 in verses 15, 21, and 23, and again in 15:10. The way I understood it best was by thinking of my own children. I want them to obey me because they know that I love them and they trust that my commands are for their good. Staying out of the street and keeping away from hot pots on the stove are obviously commanded for their safety, but some of my commands are not always so obvious. Then my children have to choose to obey because of what they know and believe about me and my intentions toward them. Willful disobedience might indicate that they are not secure in their knowledge of my love.

    • Hm, that is a really good thought! Our kids should be perfectly secure in our love. They won’t always get it, because we won’t always love them perfectly and they won’t always trust perfectly. But that should be the goal. Really like that.

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