When I was first in the faith I misunderstood the meaning of this great verse: John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I thought it was manipulative. I thought it was used as a way to control my actions and my life by force. I didn’t understand what God meant by it until later. Then when I understood it, I gained such a love for this verse and others like it that I try to encourage others to live out the verse in a tangible way.
I came to understand it when I came to understand more about what love is. Love by the world standards is a feeling one has for another or a feeling of enjoyment by some action, but love is not that at all. Love can include those things, but that is not a good description of what love is. Love is a choice. If I love someone, true love, I’m not out for what I can get, rather, I want that person to have what they want. With that perspective I understood better what God meant by “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Thus, when I now read that verse, I see my actions of keeping His commandments not as a chore, instead, as an offering of the love I claim to have. The more I do the will of God the more I have come to love Him and the more I love Him the more I want to do His will. He told us it would be this way: Matt 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
So how do we get to this point? I have found the way that works for me is to do what God has told us to do though Paul. Train ourselves up in godliness. 1Cor 9:24-27 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We cannot run the race to win if we have not be in training. If we do not guard ourselves: what we see, hear, and do. If we don’t take opportunities to obey in small things our spiritual muscles will not be developed. Luke 19:17 “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”
Just as one cannot decide today to compete in the Olympics and win without training, we as Christians would be foolish to believe that we can win the spiritual race if we don’t deal with the small things. The faithfulness of God in the small things has encouraged me when bigger things, whether trials or tasks, came into my life. Without the first, I would not have had confidence in God for the later.