John 14: 23 - 24, Jesus answered and said to him, "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. 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. NKJV
In today's passages, Jesus is instructing His disciples to demonstrate their love for Him by keeping and continuing the work of His Word in their walk. Please allow me a few moments of your day to make a distinction between love and trust. Do you have someone in your life that you love, but don't trust? They may be a relative or very close friend, but they have acted inappropriately toward you or violated your trust in some way, and this has strained your relationship with them. It's not that you don't love or care for them any longer; it is that your confidence in them has been shattered.
If any of those thoughts describes a relationship that you may have with someone, then let's look at this principle in a deeper way. God was displeased with man in Noah's day because of their hearts continually being filled with evil. Therefore, He made this statement about the flesh of man; He said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man for he is flesh." Consequently, God shortened the lifespan of man to 120 years. Even though God has no confidence in man, God never stopped loving man.
In John 3, John writes about the love of God and declares that God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son. In spite of the evil ways of man, and although God couldn't trust the flesh of mankind to fulfill His will in the earth, God still gave His best for our worst. Although our sins stopped His will from being obeyed in the earth, it didn't stop Jesus from dying for our sins so that we might be reconciled with the Father once again.
Through His love, God looked beyond the symptoms of our sins, such as disobedience and lack of character and dealt with the root cause, which was an evil heart of unbelief. Now, all that God asks of us is that we place faith in the work of Christ and believe on HIM for our salvation.
Here's the point of today's word: When we come to faith in Christ, it doesn't mean that we will be spared from ever again having loss or pain. In fact, there will be times where you may get hurt at God and stop obeying Him because "your trust has been violated." It is during these times that Satan can get into the battle and use our pain to stop us from demonstrating our love for God. Remember, Jesus said, "If you love me, then you will keep or honor my commands." We must understand that love, and trust is NOT the same thing. Even though God couldn't trust us as sinners, He never stopped loving us. If we should allow an offense to stop us from demonstrating our love and gratitude through our continued obedience to God, then we have made the decision to love ourselves, or the object of our affection that was lost, to pull back our love from God.
You can see how Satan is very subtle, but effective in the way that he fights the children of God. We may not always agree with the way that God has chosen to sanctify us from our old ways, but we must not allow the loss or pain of "our cross" to keep us from loving God. Jesus has gone before us to demonstrate how to endure, and through love, finish the race that has been set before us by the Father.
By the Grace of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery