Rules never change hearts, and since laws are rules instituted by governments, laws don’t change hearts either. But biblical obedience only sounds like it might have something to do with rules or laws. In actuality, it doesn’t.
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:23). Jesus ties obedience to love. “If you love me” is the antecedent part of this statement, obeying is the consequent. Understanding what Jesus is doing with this statement is vital, because he blows rule-following, box-checking, self-righteousness-building compliance to bits. It’s all about the heart. Checking the box is worthless, adhering to rules utterly meaningless. All that matters is what’s in your heart. But if you love Jesus your life will reflect biblical principles, you will live a life of obedience. It’s pretty convicting to think about it in these terms. Wherever I am lacking obedience, I am lacking love.
And the same is true for our children. The last thing I want is three little yes men. No, I want my boys to love me. Like today when I saw them at school — I was volunteering with some older students — they appeared to be thrilled to see me there, and it’s not exactly an unusual occurrence! But that full of love act wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t give two hoots about my expectations for them, or if they completely disregarded what I tell them is right and wrong.
So where are we disregarding the truth of the Bible? Where are we giving less than two hoots what God wants for us?
May God reveal my own stiff-necked, unloving spirit, and may His loving and endless grace root it out.