23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
Occasionally, very rarely, my kids sometimes disobey me. I know it may sound shocking but they aren’t the perfect children that they appear to be in public. Anyway, when those rare moments appear when the children are less than desirable, I have said to them, “If you love me, you would listen to me.” to which they immediately apologize and promise to never do the action again.
Okay, maybe I’m a LITTLE off on my overall assessment of my children’s behavior. But the point of the little fantasy is the same. We feel that if people love us, they will do what we want them to do. We might have possibly, in our weaker moments, even SAID it to our significant other…something like, “IF you LOVED me, you would fill the flippin’ dishwasher the way I’ve shown you 50 MILLION TIMES!” Or something like that.
And while, perhaps we shouldn’t talk that way, the feeling is valid. When we are on the other side of the situation–when we love someone–we really DO want to do what they want. It’s just we are slightly imperfect (with some of us being more slightly imperfect than others).
It’s interesting because some Bible versions have an “and” between “teaching” and “my Father.” when we were discussing this in my Saturday Sanctuary devotional, some of us (okay, me) had problems with that–it read too much like it was conditional. “IF you love me you will obey me AND my Father will love you.” This version reads like it is two separate statements. First, we should obey Jesus if we love him. Second, “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
I don’t think “obedience” is the key word in the first sentence–“love” is. Jesus has told us more than once that all we need to do is come to him in order to have a relationship. The door is there. They are waiting. Open it and invite God in to make a home with you.