“Love God and do as you please.” – St. Augustine
At first it sounds like a license to sin.
“As long as I love God, I can do whatever I want and God won’t mind! It’s stress-free Christianity!”
St. Augustine understood something tremendously important. If you say you love someone then act in a way that hurts them, it is not love. If you truly love someone you will want to honor and lift them up. When a wife genuinely loves her husband, she will speak well of him to others, encourage him, lift him up and do things that bring him joy. Similarly, a person who loves God will want to lift Him up, obey, and honor Him.
Sometimes it can be hard to view our own obedience as love but as a parent I have had days when I felt like no one listened to me. I repeated myself, I yelled, I wrestled screaming children into their clothes or car seats. I did not feel loved. These have often been followed by days of cooperation, kids taking the initiative and doing things to help, requests followed by “ok mom!”, and so on.
So. Much. Love.
…and they don’t even realize it, because they are little!
Jesus emphasizes obedience as a form of love in John 14:15 when he says, “If you love me, you will obey my command”. John writes about it as well in 1 John 5:3 when he says, “This is love for God; that you obey His commands” and Samuel in 1 Samuel 15:22 writes, “To obey is even better than sacrifice.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
My kids were listening to an Adventure in Odyssey yesterday in which the Barclay family was trying to determine God’s will on whether or not they should move to Washington DC. Our family has orders to move this September so it resonated a bit. We don’t actually have a choice in our move, but it makes me think of where God would like our focus to be.
Are we praying daily for His desires to become our desires?
Is our love of God being reflected in each of our choices?
Are we being obedient in our attitudes?
Would the person who can tell I love my husband also be able to tell I love God?