Do you feel close to Jesus? Do you feel peace with the Father, and feel God’s presence in your life in an ongoing, day-to-day basis? Or do you feel a distance–almost as if He isn’t really there? God certainly is there, but He may or may not be intimately present in your life, depending on something YOU yourself have direct control over!
“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.” (John 14:23)
This is an incredible promise of intimacy with God, but it is an “if…then” promise: we have to do something in order for God to do something. First, Jesus equates love with obedience–“if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.” The word translated into the English “keep” is “tereo” in the original Greek, meaning “to maintain, as opposed to leaving, to observe, as commands, ordinances, traditions, a law, and so forth.” (Zodhiates) According to Jesus Himself, we evidence our love for Him by doing what He told us to do. To God, love equals obedience. Period.
But then, Jesus sets up the “if…then” clause:
If, we love Him (if we keep/obey His word)–then, “My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” That’s an amazing promise! Yet many of us get this woefully wrong.
We believe that God the Father will love us, and that He and Jesus will come and make their home with us JUST BECAUSE. They will not, because that is not what Jesus promised. We cannot alter the Bible to say what we want it to say, or what we think it should say, or what we thought it says–we must accept what it really says. The Father will love me IF I evidence my love for the Son by keeping–doing–His word! And conversely, the Father and Jesus will not come to me or make their home with me if I do not evidence my love for Jesus by keeping His word.
But, does this mean I cannot come to Jesus before I am perfect, before I clean up my life? No–look at the famous example of the dying thief on the cross who was powerless to actually do anything anymore, but to whom Jesus nonetheless said, “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” But once I do come to Jesus–and as I learn what it is He wants me to do and how it is He wants me to live–if I really love Him, I will adjust my life to His ways: I will keep His word.
So, do you feel close to Jesus? Do you you have peace with Your Heavenly Father, and feel God’s presence in your life in a very real moment-by-moment ongoing basis? Or is there a distance? Rest assured, if you love Jesus and evidence it by keeping His word, the Father will love you, and God will come to you and make His home with you!
Help me show my love for You by keeping Your word, that the Father may love me, and You may come to me and make Your home with me! Amen.