“And Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching…Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching'” (John 21:23,24).
Some things are so clear it doesn’t need any explanation. Like the verses of the day for today. There is no mistaking or misunderstanding the meaning of the verses.
But here’s the problem.
Me. You. And a bunch of ya’ll.
What Jesus taught is crystal clear. If you love Jesus, you obey Jesus’s teaching.
Then how come I don’t. Well, not consistently. Not all the time. And this is the case with you too. So, what are we supposed to do with something like this?
First, remember grace. God knows we are repeat sinners. God knows we are imperfect. God knows that we are going to mess up. This does not excuse our failures and our sins. It just recognizes reality.
Second, this is an aspiration. This doesn’t mean this isn’t important or that we ought not pursue this aspiration. What this does mean is that this is the heading that we are living our lives. Yes, we are not perfect. We may go astray and drift. But we will always seek to get back on track by pointing our lives, decisions, and choices back to loving Jesus by obeying his teaching. This is our aspiration, our true North, our compass heading.
Third, that we find ourselves at odds and are bothered with our failures in living this is a good thing. This is the process of sanctification – becoming more like Christ. As long as we live in our flesh and in this world, there will be a constant battle within us between God’s will and our flesh. Until Jesus comes back again or until we die, this battle rages on within us. The key to discipleship is not perfection. If our desire to submit to Christ is 50.1% versus 49.9% to do what our flesh desires, the Spirit wins!!!
Keep at it. God will guide through his word. The Spirit will prompt and encourage. And it’s up to disciples to make our desire to obey greater than our desire to please our flesh.
The application for the verse of the day is not seeking perfection, but seeking greater impact and influence over our obedience. So, disciples…Make your submission to the will, direction, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit to the teachings of Christ be greater than your desire to please your flesh.