As discussed in yesterday’s study, God provides us a secure relationship through Jesus Christ. But there is a part we hold onto in maintaining our fellowship or “closeness with God.”
In Scripture, love is equated with obedience. If you love me, keep my commands (John 14:5
). In Colossians 3:16
, Paul wrote “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” and again in Ephesians 5:18
“do no be drunk with wine…. be filled with Spirit.”
Our fellowship with Christ means being obedient to him. Like a child who obeys their parents, there is great love and enjoyment. As the father of two young kids, I love when my kids obey me. And when they disobey, it makes me sad and sometimes even angry.
Considering that we’re God’s children, it’s perfect to imagine the relationship you have with your children when it comes to sin, obedience, discipline, and more. God is a loving God, and when you’re loving Him, you’re obedient to Him. As we become more like Him, we become more obedient. When we’re disobedient, there can be discipline enacted by God. That often leads to us thinking, “God’s not all too loving then,” but I offer this: Would it really be more loving if God didn’t discipline us?
Consider if your children were doing something dangerous like playing out in the street; certainly, you would do something, anything to get them back onto the sidewalk out of danger. You might even need to threaten to take away their dessert later that day for them to come back. If they’re really having fun, you might need to do something more drastic.
But ultimately, it was far more loving for you to discipline them and keep them from harm rather than allowing them to frolic in the dangers of the car-filled road. That’s a simple picture of God’s discipline towards us (though, all metaphors break down when studied too closely so don’t think of that as a perfect picture).
Certainly, our faith isn't gained through our obedience to God. It's a byproduct of our love of God. "If you love me, keep my commands." Loving and following Jesus Christ will require action; it's not something you can just let rot in the kitchen pantry. Take up your cross, dive into His word, follow His commandments; after all, our central purpose on Earth is to glorify Him.
When we abide in Christ and obey His commands, we become more like Him. Our minds, our wills, and our affections follow after Him the more we obey. Our relationship with Christ is intimately connected to how we read and follow what’s in the Bible. Our prayers will be transformed from what we want into what God wants. And as we live out what God wants, we will enjoy a sense of connection and purpose.Uncommen Challenge:
Be more obedient to God in simple and practical ways. Write down three ways you could be more obedient to God’s Word and His calling for us.