Read John 14:18-31
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and take up residence with him. (John 14:23 NET)
I am a dad. I love my kids and they love me. I also want my kids to learn to live a certain way according to the values of our family so I often ask them to behave in such a manner… and I call them on it when They don’t. I want them to both love an obey me as their dad. One thing you will never hear me say to them, however, is something like, “I command you to __________ and if you love me (and you want me to continue to love you) you will do it. So obey me my children!” Instead, I want them to know who they are as a member of our family and express our values in the way they behave.
I feel like sometimes this text is unfortunately reduced to some kind of conditional imperative. If you do this (obey), then the Father will love you. Some versions of scripture (like the CEV) even translate it that way. Here’s the thing, the good news of Jesus tells us something different than that. The Father’s love for us is not based on our obedience or actions. His love for us is without condition or requirement. Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my word…” Obedience means to attend to carefully. Jesus wants us to welcome his presence and direction (another way of saying to love) by attending to his word with great care because to do so is an expression of who we are in him… our family values, if you will? The Father loves us (PERIOD) and wants to take up residence in our lives through our love for Jesus.
How can we attend carefully to Jesus’ word in our lives today?