“The final test of love is obedience. Not sweet emotions, not willingness to sacrifice, not zeal, but obedience to the commandments of Christ. Our Lord drew a line plain and tight for everyone to see.” – A.W. Tozer –
At times, the Bible confronts us with things we don’t naturally like to hear, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Obedience as the proof of love for God is one such example. In each of our sinful natures, there exists a self-willed spirit that resists submission or obedience to others. We see it in varying degrees in our relationships with others as we live day to day. Somehow in our society obedience has become synonymous with weakness. But we must face the fact that our love for God is measured by just that; obedience. I love this quote from Tozer because the other things he mentions: emotions, sacrifice, and zeal are all good things which result from the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. But in and of themselves, they are not the final test of our love for God. It is only obedience:
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word…” (John 14:23a)
“Whoever does not love me does not keep my words…” (John 14:24a)
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
Though obedience is proof of our love for God, it is wrong to think that it is how we gain His love. He loved us first; proving it at the cross. Our obedience is an offering we make in return that serves to bring glory to His name. In all things, let our hearts say to the Lord, “not my will, but yours, be done”.