You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
God wants a complete love from us because He loves us completely. And we “love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
And Deuteronomy 7:9 states: “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
What God most wants from us is our love and our obedience to His word, which will prove our love for Him “… by loving God and carrying out his commands” (1 John 5:2). And “we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (1 John 2:3-6)
Faith is necessary to please God because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), and if our faith is genuine and true, we will live a lifestyle characterized by righteousness, modeling the example set for us by Jesus Christ. We obey His commands, not because we have to, but because we want to, because we love Him. We are enabled to obey because, once we believe in Christ and are saved, we are remade. We are not the same people we once were; as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
When we obey the Lord, we can live a life of joy, without shame, rooted deeply in the Lord and confident in our eternal hope. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Our obedience is actually part of our assurance that we truly know God, because, “We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands.” (1 John 2:3)
When God’s children obey their Heavenly Father, He is glorified. Jesus told us that the plan is for others to “see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Of course, performing “good deeds” requires obedience to the One who calls us to good deeds.
A Christian’s testimony of holiness is a strong witness that God is at work in the world: “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him” (Psalm 128:1). The Bible often tells us that God blesses and rewards obedience. James 1:22-25 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
And Psalm 119:1-2 says: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart.”
God is gracious. If we haven’t been living for Him, if we haven’t been following His commandments, if we’ve been living in and for the world, we can be transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We can ask God for forgiveness, and He will give it. And He will choose to forget the sin, just as if we had never committed it in the first place. God is glorified when He extends forgiveness, because it is written, “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. . . . Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:16-17)
Obedience is an attitude we have to learn. It’s not a trait we automatically acquire when we become Christians. Thankfully, the Bible gives us clear instructions on how to obey God, and Jesus provides us with a perfect example of love and submission to the Father.
The most joyful people in the world are those who are constantly seeking to love God by keeping His commandments and obeying Him.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forevermore. Amen.” (Jude 24–25)