God’s If/Then Proposition

            God is love; there is no doubt about that (I John 4:8). Our response to that love is well stated in Matthew Henry’s Commentary on First John 4:17-21, paragraph 5, It reads:

  •  We love him, because he first loved us, v. 19. His love is the incentive, the motive, and moral cause of ours. We cannot but love so good a God, who was first in the act and work of love, who loved us when we were both unloving and unlovely, who loved us at so great a rate, who has been seeking and soliciting our love at the expense of his Son’s blood; and has condescended to beseech us to be reconciled unto him. Let heaven and earth stand amazed at such love! His love is the productive cause of ours…”

           If we’re responding to God as we should, we are remiss if we keep His love bottled up inside of us, selfishly hoarding it all for ourselves. So exactly how are we to exercise this over-flowing love? Simple. Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” John14:15(NKJ).

           Easier said than done, you might say. Jesus understands that it may not be the easiest thing in the world for us to keep His commandments, so He has provided assistance. Immediately after giving us the if/then proposition (If you love me, then keep my commandments), Jesus says, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” John 14:16-17 (NKJ).

            A true if/then proposition also means its opposite. By giving us the  if/then statement in John14:15, Jesus is also saying, “If you don’t keep My commandments, you don’t love me.” That sounds harsh, but that’s how the logic of an if/then proposition works. We can’t say we love Jesus if we are participating in actions that are contrary to His commandments. Living out God’s love starts by the total surrender of our will to His. In The Message Bible, Eugene Peterson translates Romans 12:1-2 as follows:

  •  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

             Our only right response to God’s love is to love Him back by conforming to what He wants us to be. This type of conformity will be opposite to everything our flesh and feelings want to do on their own. Keeping His commandments means giving up our right to relish in how we feel. As we are stamping our puny feet and shaking our puny fists at God demanding our rights to follow our feelings, what we fail to realize is that when we submit our willingness to do whatever He says, the way He says to do it, God promises to reveal Himself to us (see John 14:21). And as the above passage points out, He will make any necessary changes in us from the inside out.

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©2011 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.

~ by sanewriter on November 13, 2011.

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