“Love God and Do As You Please”
Those words are attributed to St. Augustine who lived in the fourth century. While at first blush they seem to suggest a cavalier attitude towards obedience, in reality they pinpoint the simple but central motive for any and all obedience: Simply loving God.
Jesus said “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15 NASB). Too often as believers we hear those words more as an indictment. “If you had loved me you would have kept my commandments”. Yet in reality it is a promise: “If you love me, you WILL keep my commandments.”
This is why Jude equips Christians in his postcard of an epistle with this simple instruction: “Keep yourself in the love of God”. In context, Jude is giving us the key to keep from falling away from the Lord.
A woman was married to a man who turned out to be very abusive in many ways. She was a home maker and each day he would leave her a long list of household chores which he expected her to complete before he arrived back home. When he did come home he would inspect each item on her list and determine whether it had been completed to his satisfaction.
Every day the wife worked hard but feared her husband’s arrival as it became increasingly clear that she was not performing up to his expectations. There was too much dust where she had dusted, a fingerprint on a window, a sock she missed under the bed, etc. She tried harder and harder to please him only to find that it was not possible. He would come home and scold her and berate her day after day. Eventually she found his list was too long for her even to accomplish in the hours she had available. She became withdrawn and extremely depressed.
After several years of this, her husband had a heart attack and suddenly died. Although she loved him and was grieved she also was secretly relieved. In time, her aching heart healed and as it turned out, a friend brought her to Christ who became her very life!
She later met a wonderful Christian man who fell in love with her and married her. One day while the new husband was off at work and she was cleaning her home (the same home she and her previous husband had lived in) the wife pulled back a couch to clean behind it. She saw a piece of paper and picked it up to throw it away. As she glanced at the writing on the paper, she had to sit down as she began to weep bitterly. The paper was an old list from the previous husband! All those feelings of fear and failure rushed back into her memory.
But then she began to weep for joy as she realized that everything on that old list (that she could never seem to get done before) she was now doing every day and much more! The difference? Now she was doing it from love rather than from fear or from a hope of acceptance.
Paul wrote this in the book of Romans chapter 7:
“Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.” (Romans 7:1-4)
When the load starts to seem burdensome remember all He asks you to do is love Him!
If you do this you discover what the apostle John wrote:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” ( 1 John 5:3)
Bless you as you love Him back today!
Pastor Bob Kopeny