Obedience Leads to a Fulfilled Life

Key verse

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

John 15:14 NIV



At first glance, this verse makes friendship with God sound so conditional and almost contractual, as though friendship with God is something that we must earn on our own merit. But God is so relational! This verse, out of context, doesn’t sound very loving. But as we unpack the surrounding verses, we see key themes beautifully interwoven showing God’s heart for us.

Like the communion and intimacy between newlyweds on a honeymoon, He wants to continually abide with us in His love. That’s what friendship is! He further explains that the reason He wants us to obey His commandments and abide in His love is that His joy may be in us and that we may be full!

 
Like the communion and intimacy between newlyweds on a honeymoon, He wants to continually abide with us in His love. That’s what friendship is!
 

Let me break this concept down to a very practical level: When I give my teen daughter a command to remember to drive the speed limit, I say that because I want to save her from disaster. And as she obeys my commandments, she gets to reap the benefits of safety from not driving recklessly.

And there are many more rules that I have communicated with her. I want her to live in sexual purity so that she reaps the blessings of God in this area of her life when she is married, and I want to steer her away from harm. I want her to study diligently in school so that she reaps a lifetime of benefits from education, so that she learns the importance of faithfulness in the mundane, and how this can lead to promotion.

I want her to trust my decisions for her even when she disagrees so that she can reap the supernatural blessings of a submitted life. Notice that these parental “commands” are for her ultimate benefit, though, I am far from a perfect parent. How much more so does our perfect heavenly Father, who sees and knows all things from beginning to the end, want us to enjoy all the benefits of obedience? He never wants to harm us. He only wants to prosper us! This knowledge is phenomenally empowering. He loves us; He wants what is best for us and knows what is best for us—way better than we know for ourselves.

So these verses broken down should look something like this:

God loves us, and out of that love and trust in Him, we keep His commandments. Therefore, we abide in Him because God loves to be with us—thus He makes our joy full.

Abiding with God is equal to friendship with God. If we obey Him, it’s clear that we trust Him, and trust is essential to close friendship. It’s all about relationship.

Prayer

Father, I know You are out for my good. Please break down any ideas that I may have that would contradict that truth. I know You only want what is best for me. Show me areas that I have not fully surrendered to You. I open up my whole heart for You to have Your way. I trust You. Being Your friend is the highest privilege to me.

Questions:

Ask God to show you any areas of your life that are not fully surrendered to Him, even if it feels a little scary.

Is there any area of your life in which you have believed the lie that you know better than God does?


Behind the Devo

with Pastor Matt & Pastor Bryan


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