January 18, 2024 Devotional by Rose-Marie Slosek
“If anyone loves me,” Jesus replied, “he will obey my teaching and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who has no love for me does not obey my teaching.” (John 14:23-24a NIV)
We must be careful we do not talk about spiritual truths more than we practice them. We can develop a taste for good sermons, which provoke and challenge us. We also can enjoy discussing great theological truths, which has its place. Unless we have a basic childlike relationship of trust and obedience with Jesus, we are greatly fooling ourselves.
Loving to talk about obedience but not being obedient will get me in trouble: it is stalling and pretense. It may create a good impression with others, but it creates a dangerous spiritual vacuum—one that may sweep us away from the will of God toward a place of stagnation and spiritual withering. I may become like a child asking any number of superfluous requests or silly questions when my parents have clearly told me to clean my room.
Do you know what God is asking of you this hour? This day? This month? Until you do, stop engaging in lesser things. Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book,” (Hebrews 10:7). The writer of Hebrews then says that God takes away the system of offering sacrifices for sin and replaces it with an organic, heartfelt desire to delight in and obey God.
Do we somehow not see or know that God’s ways are a delight? That they set us free and do not encumber us? Our attitude communicates the issues of the heart when we hesitate to obey—even what seems like hard obedience. Do we honestly think that our opinion of what is best is better than God’s? God is worthy of our complete trust, even if it is a process for us to get there.
We must see the disconnect between our affirmations of love and love itself. We must acknowledge that a simple obedience is worth more than a hundred “I love You, Jesus,” proclamations that show no proof of that love in our lives. What Jesus wants us to do, He has clearly told us in His teachings. It is explained in such a way that even a child can understand if he or she desires to. God does not ask more of us than we are capable of giving. It is okay to fail at momentarily understanding what God wants. It is not acceptable to know what God wants and not do it, then cover it with religious fig leaves. Give Jesus the real obedience gladly bestowed. Delight in doing the will of God. You will not regret it.