John 14:23 (NIV)
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
Our Verse of the Day shares the imperative of obedience to the teaching of Jesus. We call His teaching “discipleship” – the process of training so that we become disciples or followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. And it is clear that love for Jesus is the primary motive for the keeping of His teachings and commandments. And as I continue to ponder His Word, I’m not sure what other method or mechanism we have as believers to demonstrate our love for Him. It is the obedience that comes from faith (Cf. Romans 1:5; Romans 16:26) that expresses our sincere, heartfelt love for Father and Son. This is what Jesus told the disciples: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (Cf. John 15:10-12)
Throughout the theological history of the Jewish faith, keeping the commandments (teachings) of God has been essential to the covenant relationship God desires with His people. We find this especially developed in the Book of Deuteronomy. “Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you.” (Cf. Deuteronomy 4:1) “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Cf. Deuteronomy 7:9) “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Cf. Deuteronomy 11:19) The themes of teaching and training … giving instruction for righteous living is inseparable from the giving of the Law. We were created in the image of God; and He wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son! (Cf. Genesis 1:27; Romans 8:29)
You will find these themes in the Psalms written by David, and further expounded upon in the Proverbs taught by Solomon. Note the exhortations to observe and faithfully follow sound teaching:
Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 86:11 (NIV)
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Psalm 119:66 (NIV)
Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.
Proverbs 3:1-2 (NIV)
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
Proverbs 6:20-21 (NIV)
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck.
Proverbs 7:1-3 (NIV)
My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
I find our message quite straightforward: Observing … Keeping … Obeying … the teachings and commands of Jesus is how we demonstrate our love for Him and the Father. Yes, to obey is better than sacrifice. (Cf. 1 Samuel 15:22) Indeed, we should be transparent before God regarding our obedience to Him; and the truth of our love should be readily apparent to others as well. Our light (our understanding of what Jesus taught us) should be evident before others, that they may see our good deeds (obedience of His commands) and glorify our Father in heaven. (Cf. Matthew 5:16) As Paul taught, there are practical ways to live out the Gospel message and to walk in the obedience that comes from faith. And so, I pray that we will endeavor to not only be disciples, but to disciple (teach) others as we have been commanded to do….
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17