Some concepts in the Bible are difficult to understand. This one is not. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:15: “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” You believe in Jesus, you love him, so what’s next? Jesus makes it pretty simple – keep his commandments. In our relationship with the Lord he expects the same kind of love that we want in our human relationships. Love that lives. Love that grows. Love that works. Love so pure, so fervent, so focused that it moves us to keep the commandments of Christ. And if our earthly relationships are ample evidence, not all love is like this.
Real love, or at least the kind of love that Jesus requires, compels us to act. The Apostle John reminds us of this in 1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” The idea is that our love for the Lord (and for the Lord’s people) should be evident not only in saying but in doing. This love should also be shaped by the truth. The implication is that love can be without the truth – illegitimate, misguided, or just unconditioned by the Word of God.
Jesus expounds on the relationship between real love and the commandments of Christ in John 14:23-24: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.” The evidence of our love of Jesus Christ, or lack of love, is evident in our obedience. If we love him we obey him. If don’t obey him, we don’t love him.
Our love for Christ can be measured by our obedience to Christ. When Jesus speaks, do you listen? When he gives a command, do you obey? Where he leads, do you follow? 1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”