“Keeping” the commandments becomes possible, not because we try hard, but because we love hard.”
Chapter 7, Page 71 –
One of my favorite things – besides raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (thank you, Sound of Music) – is to find Bible passages that so beautifully express a concept that I’ve been studying to understand. John 15:9-11 is just such a passage. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
To summarize, I understand Jesus to be saying that our ability to reflect the character of God – to “bear much fruit [of the Spirit]” is directly related to our relationship with him, expressed as “abide in Me, and I in you.” And our relationship with Him and with the Father – our “abiding” – is motivated by and is expressed as love. Our abiding in His love is most clearly expressed as “keep my commandments.”
We spent a great deal of time in Chapter 4, 5, and 6 discussing how utterly impossible it is to “obey” on our own – by trying hard. We explored and explained the concept that as we choose to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us (see Ezekiel 36:26-27), He changes our heart so that obedience – which was impossible before – is now possible.
Therefore, “keeping” the commandments becomes possible, not because we try hard, but because we love hard. Jesus expressed it: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Paul expressed it, in one of those beautiful summary Scriptures, this way: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision [nor any other “trying hard” effort of man (Ephesians 2:9)] means anything, but Faith Working by Love” (Galatians 5:6). My use of caps was intentional to emphasize R-G-B. Did you see it?