Verse of the Day Devotion: John 14:21
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” – John 14:21
This verse is the same idea found a couple of verses back. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15. This is an extremely important concept that shows how true our relationship is with God. In both this and our focus verse, Jesus declares with no apprehension what true love for Him really looks like. It is, as an old rock song from 1990 says , it is more than a feeling.
Love is not, in itself, a feeling. However, there are feelings that are derived out of love. Paul gives a fairly complete picture of love in his letter to the Church of Corinth. “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. If we look honestly at this list, love cannot be a feeling at all, but it must be a commitment. Look at the list of what love is. It is patient, kind, not envious nor boastful. It is not arrogant, rude, irritable, or boastful. It does not insist on doing things in our own way and it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but does rejoice in truth. Does this sound like merely a feeling?
John gives us a more succinct picture of love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8. True love is a sign that God is in us. Again, not a feeling but a commitment.
Because love is not a feeling, let us go back to our focus verse and see what proves our love for God. First, whoever loves God will keep His commandments. Obedience to God’s word is the proof of our love for Him. And not just some of His commandments but all of them. Now, we will stumble sometimes and not obey Him completely. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9. However, if we purposefully sin and go against what we know is His commands to us, then we show that we do not love Him as we should and think we do.
In closing, I have seen many people in churches who will disobey God’s commands in order to do what they enjoy. If we find ourselves falling into this trap, then we need to examine our hearts and see if we genuinely love God as we believe we do. It can be a difficult thing to look at ourselves and find we do not love Him as we should. But it is essential we honestly examine ourselves and then repent of those things we know are wrong but do anyway. Let us act out the love we profess and strengthen our relationship with God every day. We will find peace and joy that passes all understanding because as it says at the end of our focus verse, “And he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21b.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.