Love and Obedience; July 8, 2019

Joshua 22:5 “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Repetition certainly helps with memory, and this particular content is repeated many times throughout the Bible. Some people might try to dismiss it as “Old Testament,” but Jesus not only referenced the original statement of this as “the greatest commandment,” (Matthew 22:37-38) He also was very explicit that loving Him includes obedience to Him. (John 14:15) We tend to relegate love to feeling and emotion, but all these passages make it clear that it’s an act of the will. (Don Francisco wrote a song about the marital relationship that says this explicitly.) When we consider love to be an emotion, we make all sorts of excuses for ourselves, because it’s very clear we don’t always feel loving. Families fall apart because people get married on an emotional high, but don’t know how to handle it when the emotions ebb. When the commitment of the will is there, the emotions return! The marital relationship is indeed a good metaphor and parable of our relationship with God, as Paul wrote about in Ephesians 5 and is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. When we depend on emotions for our Christian walk, we encounter the same problems a couple does when they try to depend on emotions. Far too many people have essentially divorced God! We don’t like to obey when “we don’t feel like it,” and that certainly takes the bloom off of the relationship. The problem is, God’s commands are all for our benefit, and the abundance of His blessings comes only with obedience.

This is something I have experienced first-hand. I well remember when we were really struggling financially (our younger daughter’s birth was covered by Medicaid) but felt we were supposed to tithe. We never had a tenth of our income left over at the end of the month, but we finally decided to bite the bullet and tithe as soon as the money came in. What do you know, we had a little left over at the end of that month! It has been over 45 years since then, and as we have tithed, God has supplied. Emotion has nothing to do with it. There have been a number of other things that we didn’t feel like doing – including forgiving people – but God has always blessed our obedience. God has demonstrated His faithfulness to us in so many ways that the emotion of loving Him comes very easily! As the Bill Gaither song says, “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter He grows.”

Father, thank You indeed for Your gracious love toward us. Thank You for the privilege of being channels of that love to others. Thank You for all that You did here yesterday, for all who attended and for how they were blessed. I do pray that the Body of Christ would be built up as You intend on every level, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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