The Pathway to Joy

[Note: this is a continuing part of a series reproducing a sermon. An explanation can be found here.]

To move toward the first half of the verse “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” is to begin to rest on the love of Jesus. That is a safe haven, and there is a lot to commend it. We begin to understand that “I will go to heaven because Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. My obedience adds not one ounce to his merit. And my lack of obedience requires no more blood for it’s atonement.” This we embrace with relish.

But it becomes a hollow relish over time if we are not concerned with obedience. God in his gentle care knows that holiness and happiness go together. So, as a good father, he lets us walk down paths haunted by pain. Trouble creeps in, the supports fall away, and he re-directs us back to himself. That path back to him involves many things, and some of those we have addressed. But among them is obedience.

I understand the urge to close our hearts to obedience. But I also understand that God loves us too much to leave us there. If this passage teaches us anything, it teaches us that love for Jesus will incline us, will pull us, will move us, in the direction of wanting to obey.

There is a deep desire in each of you who truly love Jesus to obey. That desire is mingled with fear – with doubt – with uncertainty. I understand that. But since obedience is the fruit that those who love Jesus long to bear, Christians peer into Scripture seeking the next step in the path to joy.