Sometimes when I would preach a service in prison, I would begin with a question for all the men in the chapel. I would ask them, “Do you love Jesus?” It was almost always a unanimous yes, and everyone would raise their hand. I am most certain I could ask this same question in any Christian church and get the same response.
Does the faith you show reflect your heart, or merely mask it? Let these words be the nails that firmly crucify your life to the cross with Christ, when the Lord Jesus says to you, “…do you love Me?” (John 21:17 NKJV).
There are some verses in Holy Scripture that cause me to pause. Some Words of God cut deeper and leave marks on my soul. There is one verse in particular that has shaken me like none other, and I would read this verse aloud for the men who just claimed that they loved Jesus: As spoken by Jesus, “If you love me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15 CJB).
Invariably, when I spoke this verse, the mood of the room became somber. The men would ponder on all the ways that they live in rebellion to the Lord, not following even a fraction of the commands He has given. We all fall so ridiculously short of God of our own power, that none can act like they are better.
Though God’s children are imperfect, yet He can still use them. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV).
But this verse from John 14:15 is wonderfully wrapped in the surrounding words that give us the hope of living out our love to Jesus. Not by our striving, but by our submission to all that He can do. The secret of living a life of obedience is in having the life of Christ in you that He will do it.
Church is not a hook to hang your hat on, but a cross to lay your life on. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV).
Right before Jesus fired the torpedo of words “If you love me, you will keep my commands”, He first preceded that truth with the secret to get there. That secret was revealed when our Lord Jesus promised us: “If you ask me for something in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14 CJB).
We must ask the Lord to empower us, and we must believe in Him that He can. When we ask for this in His name, it means that we need to ask with the authority He has given us to ask for such a thing and then to believe in what it will bring. Until you believe, it’s only a theory to you.
If you want to believe more then you must doubt less. “Jesus immediately stretched out his hand and lifted him up and said, ‘What little faith you have! Why would you let doubt win?'” (Matthew 14:31 TPT).
It is your pride that thinks you can become obedient on your power. Any good you can do on your own is born out of the darkness of your pride. It is in the humility of your failures where you can fall down before Him and receive in submission His power to overcome.
Often our desire for holiness is born out of pride in how we want to appear before others. “…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV).
Immediately after Jesus fired the torpedo of words “If you love me, you will keep my commands”, He followed it with the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us: “and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever” (John 14:16 CJB).
The Holy Spirit in you was God’s plan all along. God knows you cannot make it on your own, and that is why His plan was always to put His Spirit in you. The plans and purposes of God are not only to bring you to heaven, but to bring heaven to you.
Just as it takes the power of God to make man, it takes the power of God to change him. “I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them” (Ezekiel 36:27 CJB).
Do you love Jesus? Let the Holy Spirit change you that you can prove your love to Christ Jesus with a life lived out in obedience to His commands. When you submit to His power, you will gain His power to overcome. None of us can get the glory for overcoming, but some of us will be blessed in our submission.
Christ can only reveal Himself to you in your obedience, because it is only then you are in the light whereby you can see Him. Jesus taught, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21 NKJV).
Blessings to you,