More than Just "I'm Sorry"
John 14:15, "If you love me, obey my commandments" (NLT).
God has been challenging me with a thought lately: When we talk about relationships we often say "an apology means nothing if they never change." I've been meditating on the fact that it's much the same in our relationship with God. Hence why Jesus says, "If you love me, obey my commandments."
God has been helping me recognize lately how much it must hurt Him when we apologize and try to pay penance for the bad things we do, but we never actually change our course or take tangible steps towards repenting from those things.
I feel hurt when people hurt me and say they're sorry, but then they do the same thing over and over again. How much more must it hurt God's heart when we do the same thing to Him?
1 John 2:5 says, "But those who obey God's Word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him" (NLT).
But if we choose to accept the gravity of these words how do we keep from feeling completely condemned?
Because of the Gospel. Because God first loved us and showed us His love through Christ on the cross, we can live in love towards Him (1 John 4:19).
Because of Christ we can lift our heads above the guilt and the shame and get back up again. There is no longer any condemnation for those who have given their lives to Christ and placed their trust in Him for their salvation. But that doesn't mean the way we live from here on out doesn't matter (James 2:14-26).
On the contrary, because of Christ's sacrifice and the Gospel how we live SHOULD matter to us. Whether we walk in obedience to Him SHOULD matter to us.
I choose to obey--not because I'm trying to pay my way into God's affection--but because His love has so invaded my soul I want nothing more than to pour my love out to Him by pleasing Him.
The more I grow to love God (by recognizing in greater and greater depths His love for me) the more my motivation for obedience turns from fulfilling the law to acting in love towards the One who has so tenderly loved me.
1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us" (KJV).
John 14:24, "Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me" (NLT).