June 10, 2021

Love and Obedience

With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.

Psalm 119:10
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote:

The obedience that keeps his commandments: this is the garment in which the hidden, invisible love reveals itself, and whereby it is known. Such is the place obedience has in Holy Scripture, in the mind of God, in the hearts of his servants. We may well ask, 'Does it take that place in my heart and life?' Have we indeed given obedience that supreme place of authority over us that God means it to have, as the inspiration of every action, and of every approach to him? If we yield ourselves to the searching of God’s Spirit, we may find that we never gave it its true proportion in our scheme of life, and that this lack is the cause of all our failure in prayer and in work. We may see that the deeper blessings of God’s grace, and the full enjoyment of God’s love and nearness, have been beyond our reach, simply because obedience was never made what God would have it be—the starting-point and the goal of our Christian life.

I was originally ordained a Methodist minister, and all ministers in that sect are required to answer 19 questions during their service of ordination. The third one is this: "Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?" It's a weird question, but an important one to Methodists, who believe in holiness. Obedience and love were joined at the hip, as far as John Wesley (the founder of the Methodist movement) was concerned. And it's not a bad way to interpret scripture passages that stress obedience. God is love, and Christ commanded us to love God and to love one another. If I want to obey, I must love. And if I want more love in my life, I must emphasize obedience to God's will.

May love so fill our hearts that our will and God's will are one. And may our lives be lived in such accordance with God's will that we are obedient to Christ's law of love.

For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
 1 John 5:3
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Most High and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our hearts and give us a truth faith, a certain hope, and a perfect love. Give us a sense of the divine and knowledge of yourself, so that we may do everything in fulfillment of your holy will; through Jesus Christ...
 Francis of Assisi
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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