“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he 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
Recently, I have been examining an important aspect of my walk with Christ: my love for Him. I have always wanted to be known as a man who has a passionate love for Jesus. I don’t want to simply be a passionate follower of Jesus, but a passionate lover of Jesus. Because, in the end, I believe lovers make the best followers. But the Holy Spirit has been leading me to examine how genuine my love truly is.
There are many today who would be quick to say that they love Jesus. Many who would say that their love for Jesus is the consuming passion of their life—and I would be one. Although there many of us who are quick to proclaim our love for Christ… few of us exhibit the defining fruit of love for Jesus: passionate obedience.
Jesus tells us in John 14:23, “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.” If we want to know just how true our love for Jesus really is, we need to examine our obedience.
I see so many in the Church—and I have been guilty of this—who cry out to God and say, “I’m hungry for You! I want more of Your power in my life! I want to see revival!” But they aren’t living in surrender. Some say that they don’t want to become legalistic. It’s true that we must be careful not to simply do the right things and meanwhile lose our love for Him (Revelation 2:2-5), but the truth is this: Obedience without love is legalism, but love without obedience is a counterfeit.
If we claim to be hungry for God, but are not willing to surrender to God, we deceive ourselves. The greatest evidence of our hunger is the level of our surrender. The person who is truly hungry is always the person who is the most surrendered.
Somehow a mindset has made its way into the lives of many people that says knowing Christ’s commands is what makes you a mature Christian. I hear lots of people quote Joshua 1:8 which says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night,” but they leave off the end of the verse! The whole point of meditating on the Scriptures is so that “you may observe to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8).
Maturity in the Christian life is marked by obedience, not head knowledge. The man who only knows one of Christ’s commands but walks in it is more mature than the man who has memorized a thousand of Christ’s words but does nothing with them. We cannot fall into the trap of thinking that knowing Christ’s commands makes us more mature than simply obeying them.
Jesus says to us in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” If we claim that Jesus is our Lord, and we claim to love Him, we must have a passion for obeying Him.
So many people are crying out for revival yet so few are desperately pursuing obedience. A few months ago the Lord spoke to me and said, “I pour Myself out on surrendered people.” John 14:21 tells us that Jesus manifests Himself to the one who obeys! So many are crying out for the power of the Holy Spirit before they obey, but it is when we obey that the Holy Spirit flows through us in power! I have seen it firsthand. In the words of evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, “Nobody needs power to do nothing.”
If our lives are not marked by radical obedience to the commands of Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we are either immature or we have good reason to question the reality of our love.
Charles Finney, who led what may be the greatest revival that America has ever seen, said this, “A revival is nothing less than a new beginning of obedience to God.” May we be a generation that is known for our action more than our words. If we want to see revival, we must grow in obedience.