If You Love Me

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth.  The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him or knows Him.  But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:15-17.

Jesus doesn’t leave much room here for negotiation does He?  He makes a pretty blanket statement about what love is in His interpretation and, by default, what it isn’t.

Scripture makes a few definitive statements which leave little doubt about what the subjects are or how to interpret them.  Moral right and wrong, love for one’s neighbor, salvation through Christ alone, living in peace with the family of God and few other such principles head the list of prioritized instructions.  Okay, what I call “instructions” Jesus calls “commands” but the words amount to the same thing in my mind because instructions tell us what is required to get life running smoothly inside.

With Jesus, however, the interior life naturally surfaced on the exterior.  There is never any doubt about a believer’s allegiance since the evidence is always lived out loud.  So first He tells them the world will know they are His disciples if they love one another and then He makes it impossible for them not to know what love for God is out in the light:  obedience to His commands.

Now certain denominations have taken this statement to mean the Ten Commandments, but I don’t think this is the direction Jesus was heading at this moment.  Obeying Scripture was a given in their culture so addressing such an obvious point of truth would be redundant, though may be used as a reminder.  No, Jesus might be including the past commands in His conditions of love, but His main purpose is telling them to follow those within the context of the moment and whatever He taught up to that time.

The rest of the chapter Jesus devotes to this subject of obedience being the evidence of love for Him.

I know some find this to be inconsistent with unconditional love, for their concept of unconditional love also includes companionship and wholesale acceptance.  Jesus refutes this by making it clear His presence with us is conditional because He cannot hang with rejection and sin, but His love for mankind is unconditional.  This is a different interpretation of love than most would use in the world today.  The general consensus on unconditional love is that it accepts the person and their behavior no matter what the character or practices.  A violent person might end up in jail, but those who conform to the world’s idea of unconditional love won’t execute that person because that would be out of line with their view of it.  But they will isolate him or her for the rest of their life in a lonely cell and make everyone else pay for their upkeep until they die of natural causes.

The truth is though, unconditional acceptance is impossible where evil is present.

Shifting gears now, look at the title Jesus gives the Holy Spirit:  the Spirit of truth.

Nothing in Jesus’ dialogue is out of place or random, but important pieces to the picture He’s painting for us.  Jesus asked the Father to give us another Counselor (one besides Jesus) whom He calls the Spirit of truth and sets us up for a relationship with God through truth.  The Spirit comes to show us how to love God by revealing truth to our hearts so we can obey Him.  Love spoken but never demonstrated holds no value for the object of one’s affection since it’s dormant.

Truth is an incredibly explosive concept.  There’s so much written about it, what it means, what it is, who has it, what’s relevant and what’s not that it almost sends me into a tailspin of confusion.  Yet Jesus explains why by saying,  “The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor  knows Him.” If the world cannot know Him, describing His work, position in the trinity and shape to anyone outside of Christ is completely useless and an exercise in futility.

How did Jesus describe the Holy Spirit?  As the Spirit of truth, pointing us in the direction of what His primary job would be for those who follow Christ.  He will guide us into all truth, right.  The greatest evidence of a life in line with the Holy Spirit is not tongues, prophetic manifestations or miraculous abilities but the clear unadulterated truth being demonstrated in the life of the believer.  When the truth is made clear, what we do next shows the reality of our devotion to Christ.

So, in our Teacher’s perspective, true love for Him is accepted first on a heart/mind level through the Holy Spirit who guides us to all truth, which is then lived out loud for all to see as evidence of our love.

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One Response to “If You Love Me”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    It’s really living in a peace like no other. I don’t have to accept your actions, I only have to love you. I live with a guidance counselor, who if I just take the time to listen to and actually heed warnings and directions makes my life flow. It seems so easy!

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