The only way to show that we love Jesus is to obey his commands.
If we are slaves, what does our master say about obeying his commands?
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but (only) the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Matthew 7:26
Jesus teaches his disciples that the one who will go to heaven is the one who obeys God the Father. The wise man hears the teaching and commands of Jesus and does them. The foolish man hears the teaching and commands of Jesus but does not do them.
We can probably all admit that we don’t always obey the teaching and commands of Jesus, but then we still “love” Jesus. If we are slaves, can we love Jesus even though we do not always obey his commands?
When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus answered one of the teachers of the law, that the most important commandment was this:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
Therefore, to love God was to do so with not just your heart, but also with your mind, soul, and bodily strength. Again we see the idea of service wrapped up with the idea of loving God.
Jesus made it clear that service was linked to the Greatest Commandment, when he further stated:
If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
Whoever has my commands an obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. John 14:21
If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching: These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24
Apparently Jesus was quoting God the Father when Jesus said this.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed the Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:9-10
No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God. John 16:27
According to Jesus, and he quotes God the Father on this, the person who loves Jesus is the one who obeys the commands/teachings of Jesus. And if you love Jesus, by obeying his commands, then God the Father and Jesus will love you and make their home in you. Any person who is not obeying the commands of Jesus does not love Jesus.
The Apostle John, proclaiming what he had seen and heard from Jesus, writes:
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6
For this is love of God, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3
James, the brother of our Lord Jesus, stated that for a person to even claim faith in Jesus (let alone love), without the accompanying proof of the deeds of obedience to the teachings of Jesus puts the person’s claim of faith into doubt. James 2:14-26
As we review the words of Jesus and those close to him, it is certain that the only way we can fulfill the Greatest Commandment and show our love for Jesus is by obeying his commands. Strange as it may sound, it’s more that just what is in our hearts. Please take special note that this is not an issue of salvation. Obedience is not a requirement for salvation. But as James points out: if there is no obedience whatsoever, we have wonder where the faith is.
As Jesus said in Mark 12:30, that to show love for God is to involve all aspects our lives, including: heart, mind, soul, and bodily strength. A good question may be to ask what comes first the heart, the mind, or the obedience? Interesting question, but note that Jesus only addressed the issue by calling for obedience. The same is true with John and James.
Disciplining programs often emphasize that the heart should follow the will, but that the will should never follow the heart in spiritual matters. Why is this so? The Prophet Jeremiah, said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Then he quotes God the Father, by saying: I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve. Jeremiah 17:9-10.
God the Father, speaking through the Prophet Jeremiah, stated that He searches the heart and mind of a man, and yet the Father rewards the man according to his conduct, what the man’s deeds deserve. Apparently God the Father does not judge a man by the feelings of his heart. Stated differently, obedience to the teaching of God is important, whereas the heart is deceitful above all things. Is it any wonder that Jesus commands that we follow (obey) his teachings and that John and James go on to say that if we follow (obey) the teachings of Jesus, our hearts will follow our actions?