Love or obedience?

23 02 2011

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1: 22-25)

Which comes first obedience or love? That was the question we pondered last night at community group and a question that has been on my mind today. Do I love God because I was obedient to Him and it worked, or am I obedient to God because I loved Him first and want to follow Him?

The conclusion that I came to fairly quickly was the latter. I believed in God, loved him and then obeyed. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that obedience in some ways is essential to love. My obedience while it shows my love in return, also perpetuates my relationship with God. If I am not obedient, although God will still love me, it will be harder for me to decipher that love. If I am not obedient to God, I will not feel at peace with Him or myself, I will be afraid of true fellowship, and I will not receive fully the blessings He has for me, because in my disobedience, I will not be following His will for my life.

So I think the better question is can you have one without the other? Can you truly love God without obedience? or can you be obedient to God without love. The first one, is impossible. There is no way to fully love God without obedience. If you love God, then you will respect Him, you will reverently fear Him. His word will be on your heart and your desire will be for obedience to His word, to follow the example of Jesus and live a holy life. The second, while perfectly possible, is a perfect example of what God doesn’t want. Obedience without love is empty religion. Is is meaningless self-righteousness. It is knowing about God without knowing Him. And this will lead to nothing short of eternal separation from God. In the Bible it says that even the demons know about God.

But will we always feel that emotional love connection to God? What happens on those days when we just don’t feel it? Just like any other relationship, our relationship with God is lasting. On days when we might not feel love, we choose love. We continue to be obedient to God because it is right, always striving though to return to the emotional state of love as well. When we feel close to God, love by God will will love Him in return, out of reverence, obedience and belief in the one true Hope.

In His love,

Stacey

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