Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46
One of the weaknesses in popular Christianity today is the overemphasis on God’s love and an under emphasis on obedience to what He expects of those who follow Him. "If you love me, you will obey what I command,” Jesus told His disciples (John 14:15). Love and obedience are not antithetical to each other. To the contrary, obedience—without hesitation—is the result of unconditional love.
Obedience is not a choice, an option that one may select out of several possibilities or lifestyles. Either you are obedient, or you are disobedient. Just as a man is faithful to his wife or else he is unfaithful, either you walk in obedience to what God expects and requires or your love is less than genuine and sincere.
Grudging obedience, the kind that is exacted by someone who is stronger than you or who will severely punish your failures isn’t what brings pleasure to the heart of God. Of course, I will comply if my automobile is stopped and someone with a gun asks for my money. Yet and this happens all the time - I freely give money, time, and energies to those whom I love, to those who are in need.
A certain woman badly in need of money answered an ad for a housekeeper. The man who was employing someone to take care of his children and his home had lost his wife and mother of the children. Shortly after the woman took the position of housekeeper, it became apparent that this was no ordinary sort of person. He was a pain in the neck. On the first day of her employment, he presented her with a neatly typed list of responsibilities, and furthermore, he was so particular that she almost quit after the first week.
Like the slogan, “I owe, I owe so off to work I go,” she needed employment and stayed with the job. But eventually her resentment began to subside, and she began to see a softer, more gentle side of the man who had employed her. In time, she grew to love the children and seemed to be able to overlook his idiosyncrasies of temperament and habit. Eventually, to the great delight of the children, he asked the housekeeper to become his wife and they were married.
Years later, cleaning out a drawer one day, she found the original list of responsibilities. She smiled as she read how everything that she had so disliked now was no problem. The difference? Yes, she had come to know and love the man who had hired her as a housekeeper.
“More love to thee, O Christ, More love to thee!” wrote Elizabeth Prentiss a century and a half ago. The second stanza reads, “Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest; Now thee alone I seek; Give what is best; This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee, More love to thee, More love to thee!”
A faith that assumes because God does love you, He will overlook anything you do is not true faith at all. It is a sentimental notion that God doesn’t really mean what He says and that Jesus’ words of reproof to those who knew the language but ignored submission to His will and plan can’t really apply to them.
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?” Jesus asked those who came for the bread and fish, the thrill of a religious experience and a good time without cost (See Luke 6:46).
Jesus’ question to Peter, “Do you love me?” is one that you can answer only by measuring your obedience to what He asks of you. Listen to the quiet echo of that question which never goes away, “Do you love me? Then keep my commandments.”
Resource reading: Luke 6:43-49