In John 14:14-16, Jesus says, “Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”
We like verse 14 where Jesus says He’ll answer our prayers. In the previous verse He says He’ll do this to bring glory to the Father.
We also like verse 16 where Jesus promises the gift of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is available to us. And not like the days of old when people were granted the Spirit for a time to do amazing works. Today the Spirit lives inside of us and is always available.
But sandwiched right there between those verses is verse 15, and that one we don’t like so much. It would be easy to say these three verses stand alone; to rationalize that one doesn’t rely on the other. But we would only be fooling ourselves.
“If you love me, obey my commandments.” The power of prayer and the work of the Spirit seem directly connected to our obedience. Not an obedience that comes from obligation or fear, but an obedience that is a direct response to our deep love for God. When we love Christ, we obey Him. We are in tune with the Spirit, trying to respond from the Spirit and not the flesh. We pray with selfless motives, surrendering to His will and He loves to answer those kinds of prayers.
God is not a genie who answers our every whim and moves mountains to make life easy for our sake. He is a loving Father who desires what is best for us, expects obedience, and receives glory when our lives reflect Him.
This week as you look forward to Sunday, consider your motive for obedience. Is it motivated by fear of God’s wrath and judgement? Or maybe the judgement of other believers? Is is out of manipulation, believing your obedience forces God to do good for you? Or do you obey because the grace He has shown you compels you?