15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
If you have a red-letter edition of the New Testament these words are in red which means that they were spoken by Jesus and recorded for us by John. This adds a bit of force to the concepts listed here. Simply put, Jesus is saying that obedience is not only the requirement for but the demonstration of our love for God. Being an obedient child of God does not mean that you never make any mistakes it simply means that our heart is set to obey. What are the elements of a lifestyle of obedience? I think there are at least three.
- LISTEN TO HIM CAREFULLY!
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Unfortunately, God does not speak to us with a voice we can hear. He uses spiritual impressions and signals upon our mind. This requires a strong connection and careful listening to the “voice” of God. He speaks through many means.
- OBEY SYSTEMATICALLY!
12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Abraham was called to leave his home and to travel to an unknown destination. It is as if a parent plans a family vacation with pleasant stops along the way and a wonderful destination at the end. All the children know is that they are on vacation! That is why the kids are always asking “are we there yet?” Because we do not know every turn of the trip, we must be willing to obey by taking the very next step.
- EXPECT A BUMPY ROAD!
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Continuing our analogy of a family vacation, we understand that there may be delays along the way. Bridges may be out requiring us to take a detour and the road may be bumpy. However, it is not the road but the destination that we must keep in mind. Let’s never forget that he said, “I have overcome the world.”
Obedience is not automatic. It is a lifelong process and should become easier as we learn to trust and wait patiently for God’s guidance. At times the distant destination may be almost in view and at other times we may feel we are in a wasteland of confusion, but we keep trusting and obeying.
Dear Lord, when today’s carefully laid plans are ruined by unexpected delays and detours – help me to trust the destination to you. AMEN