Devotion for September 23, 2022

Jesus said in John 15:14, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (NLT).

You can’t say you love Jesus and then go live like the devil. You can’t say you’re a Christian and then keep living a self-centered life. You can’t say you’re a follower of Jesus and then pick and choose the verses that you want to listen to and ignore the ones you don’t. Jesus says you’re his friend if you obey him and his commandments.

Why do Christians obey God? Nonbelievers get this wrong all the time. They say, “I don’t want to be a Christian, because I don’t want to obey God. You believers obey him out of guilt or fear or obligation, and I don’t want that for my life.”

But why do we really obey God? Because he loves us! He wants the best for us. He loves you like nobody else will ever love you.

The Bible says the only reason there’s love in the world is because God is love. We don’t obey God out of fear or guilt or obligation. We obey God out of love — because he loved us and saved us.

When I was a kid in high school, a guy came up to me and said, “You’re restricted.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Because you’re a Christian. You can’t do any of the fun stuff the rest of us do.”

I looked him in the eye and said, “I could take all the drugs I want to take. I could get stoned all I want to get stoned. I could drink all I want to drink. I could go to all the parties I want to go to. I could go to bed with as many women as I want. But here’s the difference: Jesus changed my want to.”

I didn’t want to do those things then. I don’t want to do those things now. They are cheap, phony thrills that give a temporary kick to life, but then they kick back. They may look like freedom, but they don’t last. They lead to despair, not dignity; they end in depression, not delight.

Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me … When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” (John 15:9-11, NLT)

God doesn’t want you to obey him because you’re afraid of him. He doesn’t want you to obey him because you’re scared of punishment. God wants you to obey him because of love. It’s his love that leads to true joy.

Prayer

Almighty God, thank you for Your love for me! Help me to grow that love for You so that my life will be complete, free from fear, guilt and obligation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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Pastor Bailey
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