The Reward of Obedience

John 14:21

He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who

loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to

him.

Jesus makes clear, the one who loves God most certainly keeps His

commandments. Observance to a form of religious dogma, even if one is

convinced they are obeying His word, is insufficient. The one who loves Him

keeps HIS commandments. How do we know the difference?

Herein is a fantastic revelation. Expressed in this declaration by Jesus is the

unchanging promise of God. This promise states that if a person loves Him, and

because of such love obeys Him, then God Himself will be manifest to them. The

breadth of what that means is astonishing.

For one thing, in the form of religion you follow, if Jesus as a person and in

His power is not being manifest to you personally and often, it is an evidence you

are not keeping His commandments. Despite the religious practice you observe, or

the piety in which you believe yourself to live, true obedience to Him, in love, is

the inevitable precursor to His manifestation. This truth marks for us an invaluable

standard. In evaluating the form of doctrine we hold, the practice of faith we

observe, there is a clear indicator for us concerning the certainty of our perspective

and belief. When it is real, He is manifest to us. Conversely, when it is misguided

or in error, He is not manifest; despite how diligently we hold to certain doctrines,

insisting they belong to Him.

When I met the Lord twenty-five years ago, it was a dramatic, life changing

experience. God was manifest to me. Immediately, I knew I had passed from

darkness to light, though I could not articulate in spiritual terms exactly what had

happened. What I did know was the hunger I had for God was insatiable and my

desire was to learn all I could about Him.

As I have shared on numerous occasions, a short time after I came to know

The Lord I allowed myself to be misled by a group of people that seemed as

knowledgeable and well versed as anyone I had ever met. In short, I immersed

myself in the religion of a group that was harshly legalistic and oppressive.

For two years this was the “Christian” life I lived. Though I learned much

of the Bible in that time, I learned little of God. In that time period, the

overwhelming peace and joy of new life I had previously known was greatly

suppressed. Though I observed many commands, the manifestation of God on a

personal level was virtually absent.

John 14:21explains the standard of Godly living and spiritual vibrancy. This

is not simply a heavy handed order to keep His command, or else. The intention of

God is explained in saying, “I will manifest myself to him.” This promise belongs

only to the one who truly loves Him with all they are, sincerely and passionately.

Within the essence and being of a person possessed by such love is the

unquenchable desire to obey Him, to keep His word. We can lose perspective by

forgetting what the result MUST be if we obey. In our natural thinking, we can

form personal expectations of what God should do based on carnal, self-fulfilling

desires, instead of promise. In other words, people sometimes set an expectation

on God that obedience should lead to in an inevitable outcome based on results

they expect and desire, rather than the singular hope of God being manifest and

known. However, for the one who loves Him, this is the only result they truly

desire. Yet, this trap has caused many to stumble because a carnally formed

expectation often leads to the conclusion there is no reward for obedience.

The value of obedience to God is not necessarily measured by our personal

expectations being met if we yield, but our joy being full because we have. What

we are offered is all He is, in presence, nature, character and ability. What we are

promised is Him, personally becoming our reality. To encounter God in any

capacity is the greatest experience anyone can know. Consequently, every time we

see God move or encounter His presence, it causes us to delight ourselves all the

more in submitting to Him. The deeper our obedience and surrender, the deeper

our encounter. The deeper our encounter, the more we desire obedience.

Obedience bears in it the purpose of God being known. His commandments

mark the journey, always leading us to fuller revelation of Him. They are not

chains upon our neck, but a light unto our path. What He speaks is not

burdensome.

Additionally, the commandments Jesus is speaking of in this verse are not

calling us to an observance of the law of Moses, which could never be kept, nor

any other form of legalistic doctrine. The commandment of His covenant is

written on our heart, established by His blood, apprehended exclusively by faith,

and is utterly transformative. You know you love Him if the commandment you

set your heart to observe bears with it the ever increasing desire of yielding to Him.

You know you love Him and are truly keeping His commandment because He is

manifest to you.

When God speaks, when He is manifest, all the noise of a chaotic world is

quieted. The arguments and debates suddenly seem so senseless. The demands of

a fallen world upon God to prove Himself according to its’ specifications no longer

compel you to meet such low standards of proof. The greatest evidence of God’s

existence is God himself. Unto the person who sets their heart to love and follow,

the evidence will be overwhelming.