The Weekly Word - A Devotion for the Week of February 1
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.” (John 15:9-11)
At first glance, Jesus’ words in these verses read like a simple “do this, get that” kind of transaction, implying that we can earn God’s love by obeying His commandments and doing good works. The fact is, though, God loves us regardless of whether we obey Him or not. Jesus’ love is not contingent on our good behavior. Likewise, we do not lose God’s love when we sin; He keeps on loving us through all our mistakes and missteps.
God is the initiator; our love for God is a response to His love for us. Our responsive love back to God then leads to a natural desire to obey Him. Like a child eager to please a parent, when we feel the pleasure of God’s love, we, in turn, desire to please Him. Our obedience is not a pathway toward God; it is simply one of the many ways we can respond back to His love for us.
Obedience, Jesus reminds us, is not an obligation or a burden, but a gift – an invitation to be filled with the deep, satisfying joy that comes from receiving God’s love and responding with love to Him in return.
Gracious God, I am so grateful that Your love is not transactional. You love me regardless of what I do or even how I feel. Your love is constant and unwavering. It is a joy and gift to respond to Your invitation to love. Amen.