February 02, 2022

Love Leads to Obedience

Psalm 119:1-16

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

—  John 14:15 (RSV)

I remember learning this verse in our church boys club, called “Cadets.” It is certainly a good verse for boys to learn, but keeping God’s commands is a good plan for everyone.

To some of us, this verse might seem so obvious that only a child would need to learn it. Of course! How could I love someone and then hurt them, or steal from them? That’s no way to treat anyone, especially someone I love.

In Psalm 119 we can tell that the writer loves God and wants to live God’s way. “I seek you with all my heart,” the psalmist writes; “do not let me stray from your commands.” If we are like this believer, we have a deep trust in God, and we know that only God’s faithful love and care can help us live by God’s law of love.

Though the commandments are often stated negatively—do not worship other gods; do not kill; do not steal; and so on—the summary of them all is positive: do love the Lord your God; do love your neighbor as yourself. (See Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31.)

The commandments are not external demands; they are the framework on which love for God can grow and flourish. And without God’s love and the framework he gives us to live by, nothing will stand.

Lord, because of your love and care for us, we want to show you and our neighbors love. Help us to do that by keeping your commandments. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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