“If You Keep My Commandments?”
“If you keep My commandments, I will love you”? Did Jesus say this? Look up John 14:15. The Bible verse is a little bit different, right? I believe that most of us have been brought up to believe: If we keep His commandments, He will love us. It’s a little flip of the actual words in the Bible, and it gives the words a completely different meaning. A little later in John, starting in verse 23 we read,”If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”John 14:23-24.NKJV
We need to shrug off our old garments that are soaked in tradition of man, and put on the new “garments of truth”. When we know the truth, it will set us free! This is why we have to dig and seek the Lord’s truths in the Scriptures. There is a saying, “Perception is reality”. This is true for each of us! Whatever you and I believe to be the truth, is what guides us. Our understanding of the truth is the foundation on which we build our lives and values on. If the foundation is faulty, the house will fall. Years ago there were people who stayed hidden in the hills and in the desolate places, after World War 2 had ended. When other people found them hiding out there, they were full of fear, because they had not heard that the war was over. So…they lived their lives as if the war was still raging. They were free, but they acted in accordance with their “perception of reality”. They were free but they did not know it, so they lived their lives in bondage, because of their ignorance of the truth.
Many of us have been raised in a conventional church setting where a man of God has often broken the Word down for us in his sermon. He has given us a natural, book-learned kind of message, devoid of any real revelation. We believe these interpretations of God’s word for a time. Then one day our understanding is enlightened by a Spirit-filled believer, who rightly divides the Word, bringing us revelation from the Holy Spirit. When this happens to us, we go through some very strange transitions in our minds and hearts. It would seem reasonable that when we hear these hot truths from the heart of God, that we would run full tilt to dig for more gold in God’s Word. But…just like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day, many get angry and want to kill the messenger. Jesus was the Word of God in the flesh! He was all-truth! There was no lie in Him! And yet…they wanted to kill Him. Why?
Jesus never white-washed anything to “keep the peace” or conserve the “status quo”. God told us to be “Peace Makers” not “Peace Keepers”. Jesus offended almost everyone He met, because His words always ‘cut to the chase’. His primary concern was and is the salvation of every soul on earth. People say “God is love”, so just live and let live, but what does that mean? Yes…God is Love…but do we understand God’s definition of “Love”? I would say that we don’t! Our love is based mostly on “peace keeping” while God’s love (true love) is based upon “peace making”! The greatest peace that we can ever make is “Peace with God”.
Jesus was and is always concerned with us making “peace” with God. He will do whatever it takes to wake people up to the truth! Unfortunately, this usually fulfills the old adage, “the truth hurts”. In many cases, it hurts because it offends our “mind sets” and our “long-held-views”, or our “traditions”. Jesus said, “…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”(Mark 7:13) NKJV
Because of your traditions you have destroyed the authority of God’s word. 7You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans.’”(Matthew 15:6-10) GWT
(Take note of the word “authority” above and also “Their worship is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans) This should make us very uncomfortable. Does your worship please God, not man?) WORSHIP WAS NEVER MEANT TO PLEASE MAN! IT WAS MADE TO PLEASE GOD! WOW!! —CHEW ON THAT FOR A WHILE!!
Anyway…back to traditions of man. Sometimes we even feel that our mind-sets are ‘who we are’ and that is part of the reason, I believe, that we squirm and work hard to reject these new views that we are exposed to. We feel in some way that we will get lost in the mix, and lose our identity, of ‘who we are’. Isn’t it funny how we react? We are facing “The Truth” and yet we fight tooth and nail to hold on to our precious lies, because it keeps us comfortable. We resist giving up these tales sometimes because we have been friends with these thought patterns for such a long time, they are very deeply set into our bones, and they have no desire to move. Mmmm..this is very strange! It takes a very stringent, continuous effort to “renew our minds” in these things. This is such a tragedy! But there is hope…REPENT and turn back to the foundation of God’s Word! Let us swallow our pride and return to the bosom of His heart on these things. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It usually takes quite a few hits of the hammer before we finally yield to these new truths, as the light of the Lord breaks it’s way into ‘our understanding’. It’s such a pity that we delay these great opportunities to change, but maybe we are getting more willing to change as we begin to experience the greatness of Godly change in our lives. I guess many of us may have been burned by impure doctrine that has been taught to us, and this may be part of the reason we are so cautious when presented with something ‘new’ from His Word. Many people have used His Word for their own purposes, and many continue to do so, often without realizing it.
So…back to the beginning of this article…if we love Him (with a Godly kind of love), we will keep His commandments. Jesus said they are summed in these two,”‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is thefirst and great commandment. (Jesus was quoting from Deut. 6:5 here for you lovers of the Old Testament.)And thesecond islike it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’(Again this was quoted from Lev. 19:18)On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22:37-40
So…if we love Him…we will do Matt. 22:37-40. And the reward for our love of Him is overwhelming as seen in John 15:23. “”If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”Do you want this? WOW, I do!
Here is the Hebrew definition for the word ‘love’ in Deut. 6:5 in the NASB Hebrew Lexicon. We need to understand God’s kind of love, not man’s perversion of the word.
The word is “Ahab”
1. to love
1. human love for another, includes family, and sexual
2. human appetite for objects such as food, drink, sleep, wisdom
3. human love for or to God
4. act of being a friend 1a
b. lover (participle) 1a
c. friend (participle)
1. God’s love toward man 1a
d. to individual men 1a
e. to people Israel 1a
f. to righteousness
1. lovely (participle)
2. loveable (participle)
1. friends, lovers
The Greek definition of ‘love’ in John 14:23 is “Agapao” is:
1. of persons
a. to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2. of things
a. to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing
So when we think about our love for God, does it fit in these definitions? It seems like we have re-defined love in a way that has become some kind of traditional meaning that has strayed far from the original concept. Could this be why we enable people to continue in their selfish, destructive behaviours and call it “love”? We need to dig back to the root and fertilize the ground around the “Truth Tree”. Let’s cut off the branches that have grown lopsided in this man-made concept of “love our way”. Let the truth set us free!
One word of caution here: We cannot fake our love for Jesus! He is not about to be fooled; it will show up in our “Fruit”. It’s time to hunker down with our Lord and get intimate with Him in a new way, every day. Then we will learn to love Him for who He is, and all of these wonderful aspects He promises will enter our lives for eternity. He and the Father will make their home in us. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to bring us into intimate fellowship TODAY. Now is the day that He is already preparing a “Suddenly” to enter your life! Get ready! Surf is up! Get your swimming gear on and get ready to be washed in His fresh new ‘streams of truth’ that He is revealing to the hungry all over the world.
He is waiting for us to make the first move and then He will fulfill His faithful promises towards us! Get ready for an awesome change as you yield to His wooing in this present hour. Just ask Him for more! He is always faithful! It says in Jeremiah “And you will seek Me and find Me,when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity” Jeremiah 29:13.