John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
The verse above is from the gospels; Jesus is speaking to His disciples. It isn’t a command, but an observation. In the King James, it is written as a command, “Keep my commandments.”
John will repeat this with a slight variation in his epistle, his letter to the church.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
This version says that our keeping His commandments is God’s love for us. What would that mean?
Sin separates us from God. Sin broke man’s fellowship with God way back in the garden. Jesus came to reconcile us to God, to restore the peace between God and man. God created us to love Him and to be loved by Him. We can’t be in sin and have that relationship. God made the way for us to walk in obedience so that we could be with him. We have the power to overcome sin through the resurrection life of Christ in us, His Spirit dwelling in us. That’s the love of God for us, that He not only made a way for our sins to be forgiven, but He made a way for us to live in obedience so that we could remain in Him and with Him forever.
We can be tempted to sin, but we choose to obey and show our love of God and God’s love for us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
You never have to give into temptation. God made you able to resist and made a way of escape. If you find yourself struggling with wanting to give into temptation, remove yourself from the temptation source if at all possible. The ultimate way of escape, of course, is Jesus. He is the way of escape because He is the Way. Call out to Him. Cling to Him. Run to Him. He can get you through the moment of temptation. Choose Jesus in that moment. He is right there with you. Believe it. What would you do or not do if you really believed that?
James 1:14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
If there is a temptation, there is some desire that you have. If you didn’t want the thing, it couldn’t tempt you. You can ask God to help you hate whatever it is. If you hate it, it can’t tempt you. You should be able to hate anything that is trying to break your relationship with God. He can help you. Ask for help. Want to get the temptation out of your life.
Obedience isn’t really a choice. If we know God, we love God, we obey God. Just think of the opposite. If we don’t obey God, we don’t love God, we don’t know God, and to know Him is eternal life.
I remember being in college and thinking about obedience and coming to the conclusion that there was no choice. I had to obey. I surrendered to a life of obedience, that there would never be a time when I put the question to myself whether or not I was going to obey God in something. The decision was already made.
Note: Satan is real. We have an enemy. His real enemy is Jesus. What he’s really after is not us, but Christ in us. If he can get us to live in sin, he can put out the light of Christ in us. When you are tempted, if you can remember it’s Satan that wants you to do that thing so he can destroy you and remember that it’s God who wants you to reject it so He can bless you, it can help you hate the sin.
Lesson Point: If we know and love God, then we obey God.
Challenge Question: Have you surrendered to a life of obedience? Is there a temptation that you need help overcoming? Decide you want it gone. Ask for help hating it.