Key Verse: “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
—John 15:10, New King James Version
IN OUR KEY VERSE, JESUS declares that his love toward us is contingent upon our obedience to his commandments, just as he had kept all those he received from his Father. As creatures stained with sin, we often feel disposed to react rebelliously against God’s commandments, and selfishness may cause us to resent our responsibility to obey his laws. Such attitudes, however, are folly. It is only through obedience to the divine will that we can find true happiness and fulfillment.
Apostle John spoke powerfully to this, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (I John 5:3, NKJV) Here the apostle makes two deeply resonant observations. First, if we say we love God, we must demonstrate it by keeping his commandments—that is, by living a life consistent with his will. Second, God’s commandments are not burdensome; rather, they are liberating.
Along these lines the psalmist was moved to speak thus: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.”—Ps. 19:7-11, NKJV
There is “great reward” in keeping the laws of God. We acknowledge a future reward in his eternal kingdom. There are also blessings at the present time through obedience to God. Our soul is converted to his divine will; we are made wise; we rejoice in the glorious promises of Scripture; our eyes are enlightened. These are priceless treasures now. By obeying God’s commands we are transformed day by day. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:2, New International Version) As God’s will is put to the proof in us, as Paul states, we find that it is good, pleasing, and simply put, perfect.
Jesus likened the process of our spiritual growth to bearing fruit. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:4-8, NKJV) We cannot bear fruit on our own, no matter how our human pride might claim that we can, but only through the strength we receive by abiding in Jesus. By bearing the fruit of the spirit in abundance, we glorify our Heavenly Father, and are blessed each day in proportion as we live our faith. May each moment find us rejoicing abundantly as we abide in Jesus’ love.