Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Ye Gates Lift Up Your Heads"1 (Lyrics)
John 14:23 – Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (NIV)
My year-old Labradoodle, Denver, gave me quite a scare not long ago when we were all out for our daily walk. As we were approaching the final phase of the path and drawing closer to the roadway, all the dogs fell into line behind me as they have been trained. Suddenly, a large raven swooped down in front of us and landed on the road. In the blink of an eye, Denver broke and ran into the roadway after the bird. Fortunately, no vehicles were coming, and he did respond to my command immediately. But as he ran back to my side, I considered how the quality of his life really depends upon his obedience to me. His disobedience could have had a very different outcome that day.
It also occurred to me that likewise, the quality of my life depends upon my obedience to Christ. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15 NIV) For the more that we keep the commands of Christ, the fuller and more abundant that our life becomes as our obedience enables His Holy Spirit to guide and direct our thoughts and ways. Through obedience to Him, we become instruments of peace within our world. We are enabled to sow love instead of hatred, hope instead of despair, pardon for injury, joy for sadness, and faith for doubt. We will long to understand more than to be understood, to console more than to be consoled, and to love more than to be loved (as we pray in the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi).
Denver is young yet and continuing to learn the rewards of obedience. Though I am no longer young, I, too, am seeking to continue to learn to love and obey the teachings of Christ more and more each day. For as I do so, the quality of my life, of my character, and of the person I am will continue to become more and more like Him, as the Father becomes more and more at home within me — something which I truly desire.
How about you? What do you truly desire?
Prayer: Father God, thank You that through obedience to Christ, we can have a quality of life that fulfills and completes us in a way that nothing else in this world can. Grant us the desire to learn to love and obey Him more and more, that indeed we may become Your instruments of peace in whatever place or situation that we find ourselves. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.