Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday's Devotional

If you love Me, keep my commandments.

~John 14:15 (NKJV)

Do you love the Lord? I mean, do you really love Him, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? There's only one way to find out. And that is this: if you truly love Him, then it will be clearly evident in your life, because your life will be a life of complete obedience to Him. That's the only way you'll ever be able to truly discover whether or not you truly love Him. True lasting love is not feelings and emotions. It's dedication to Him and full, unquestioning obedience. If you truly love Him, you will obey Him always, out of your immense love for Him. If you don't obey His commands, then it's extremely doubtful that you love Him at all. That statement may seem a bit harsh, but that's what this verse teaches. We may say that we love the Lord. But that claim is only true if we live a life of complete, total obedience to Christ.

Now, of course that's not to say that we won't still sin and at times disobey Him. We're still sinners! When we became Christians, we didn't all of the sudden become perfect and incapable of committing sin. We will still occasionaly disobey the Lord in some areas. We will still sin, and when we do, we must go to the Lord in repentence. We must ask for His forgiveness, and ask that He make us stronger in the future to resist temptations that we'll face. He will strengthen us, and will bring us closer to Him.

Ladies, if you have a deep, longing desire, as I do, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, then you must begin by living a life of obedience to Him! And you'll only be able to do that if you stay constantly in the Word of God. You will not know what His commands are or how He wants you to live, unless you search out and study the Scriptures often. Psalm "Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." That's what we all must do; it's crucial to leading a life of complete obedience and love to Christ!

So, I encourage you all to join with me in this adventure! Join me ladies, as I strive to become a young woman after God's own heart. A young woman whose life is characterized by complete obedience to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Rebekah,

    an interesting post with much truth in it! As with all the devotionals you write, it is very heartfelt.

    I am a little concerned, though, that you didn't include any focus on the Great Commandments themselves (the latter of which was so important that Jesus paired it with this observation not only in John chapter 14 but in chapters 13 and 15 as well!) in your reading of the text. I am very concerned that you took this text as to be focused on the act of obedience rather than the importance of the commandments themselves, when an examination of Jesus's words in the surrounding chapters strongly argues against this emphasis being used.

    It's my belief that a more holistic approach to the commandments referred to here might help give a better appreciation of where I do believe Jesus meant the emphasis to be placed. As you have used the NKJV for your text, I'll do so as well:

    John 13: 34-35
    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

    John 14:15
    "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

    John 14:21
    "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."

    And finally, John 15:12-17
    "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another."

    As you can see, a broader study --one that includes even just the two chapters flanking the one in which your devotional verse is found-- demonstrates that the commandment which appeared to be uppermost in Jesus's mind when he discussed it with his discples was to love one another; there is little if any weight to be given to the argument that He was concerned for their obedience in general, but rather, that he was concerned they demonstrate love. The summation of the verses seems to be "if you love Me, you will love each other."
    (for a little further reading, Romans 13:9 nicely sums up the fact that all the commandments are in fact encapsulated in that one commandment Jesus gave-- to love one another)

    I don't for a minute think you meant to neglect this broader reading, but possibly rather that you saw a verse in the chapter that echoed/supported what you wanted to discuss (obedience) and used it as the basis for your devotional.

    The concern this raises for me, though, is that this particular slice-and-dice approach (called "proof-texting") can lead, however unintentionally, to an exclusion of the whole context of the passage being discussed (as in this case, when a primary concern for love is re-filtered to become a concern for obedience). As we know, ALL Scripture is suitable for teaching and reproof, and I think that the minute we start to carve out pieces for ourselves at the exclusion of the whole, we start to lose sight of the entirety of God.

    Proof-texting is certainly useful in the short run, and has even been used maliciously by some groups to further their own agenda-- that is, they will excise a few lines of Scripture (even occasionally just half a sentence!) and use it to argue a point when in fact the entirety of the verses around it --certainly the entirety of Scripture-- does not support that reading being taken so cleanly out of context.

    Again, I stress that I do not for a minute think you meant to do this deliberately! However, if your habitual approach to your devotionals is one that involves taking out one line of Scripture and building a lesson around it, I might suggest that you take the time to read the chapters around the one you use as well; you don't necessarily need to include them in your devotional, but by examining that which you will be teaching from, you will probably be able to approach the devotional with a more holistic view of the context in which it was written.

    Much love,



Hi!! Thank you so much for visiting my blog! Please come back often. Thank you for your comment as well; your input is always most welcome! Even if you disagree with something, I encourage you to leave a comment; I just ask that you do so in a loving and Christ-like manner.

God bless you!

~Rebekah S.