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"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." John‬ ‭14‬:‭21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As many of you know, we have an English Pointer named Bella. Since she was a puppy, Janice has taken her to dog training class (she's now 10). Sometimes, she's on the money with obeying the commands; she'll jump, sit, and stay. But at other times, Bella does her own thing. Instead of jumping, she steps over (she has long legs) or walks around the hurdle. Sometimes, Bella becomes disinterested and bored and simply flops down, observing the other dogs. She behaves the same way at home, not being bad (necessarily), but unless rewards (i.e., treats) are involved, she's not terribly obedient. 

Sometimes, we may be like Bella. We know Jesus' commands. We've read the Bible, heard it preached, and understand what is expected–we're simply, at times, not terribly interested in being obedient. But in today's verse, Jesus makes it clear that if we love him, we will obey his teachings. Yes, we are to follow the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), consolidated by Jesus into two in Matthew 22:37-40, but also all his teachings like repentance (Mt. 4:17), reconciliation (Mt. 5:23-24), and loving our enemies (Mt. 5:44-46). These are only a few; the gospels are full of them, but you get the idea.

We desire to be obedient because we love our master. I'm not saying that Bella doesn't love us in her way, but she often doesn't care about pleasing us. We show our obedience to Jesus for no other reason than we love him. We love what he did for us; he came from heaven the pure and perfect sacrifice, bearing our sins upon the cross so that we would have the hope of salvation. 

God, the Father, wants and expects our obedience–through Jesus, he's shown us what he desires and loves it when we show our love by doing what we've been shown–by being his faithful disciple. But God also knows humans are rebellious–we tend not to do what is expected, so he sent a Helper, the Holy Spirit. Christ continues to reveal himself to us by the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Spirit, we turn to aid us with our bend towards disobedience, praying that our actions are consistent with our stated love.

Father God, we thank you for your unfailing and boundless love for those who love your Son Jesus. We surrender to that love in this moment, letting it fill every corner of our being. Yet, we confess we have been rebellious and disobedient. Forgive us, Lord, help us to "have your commands and keep them," not out of fear or obligation but out of overflowing gratitude for your love. Guide our steps to follow your teachings, to act with kindness, to choose compassion, and to live in your light. May our obedience reflect our love for you, just as Jesus' obedience mirrored his love for you. Fill us with the joy that comes from living in your will. We yearn to experience your love in its fullness. By the Holy Spirit, reveal yourself to us. Let us be conduits of your love, sharing it with the world through our actions and words. May every interaction and encounter be a testament to the love that binds us together. Thank you for the unending love and grace we find in your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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