Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. John 14:22-24 ESV
In this passage Jesus re-establishes the principle that our obedience to his words undergirds and seals us into the relationship God originally intended for us.
We must guard Jesus’ words rather than reduce them to slogans or let them lie fallow. Here’s another way of saying the same thing:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25
To avoid looking at these words as just another pep talk, continue reading the next two verses of John 14:22-26
These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:24-26 ESV
Here Jesus provides our “want to” for obedience. He also answers this question: How on earth can we faithfully translate Jesus’ words into our daily experiences? Thankfully he has provided the Holy Spirit as teacher giving us the capacity to process into everyday terms what we learn from scripture about
the sovereignty, character, and words of Jesus.
The indwelling Spirit also enables us to overcome our own shortcomings as we live out Jesus’ teachings. The following scripture motivates us to seek mutual encouragement and support from others who live by the Spirit so we can persevere in trusting Jesus when we experience “obedience failure”. Jesus has left us a most competent teacher who (very conveniently) lives inside each of us who trust him.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Galatians 6:1-4
The Spirit not only conveys and applies the words of Jesus for us but reveals mysteries that were not yet clearly understood before Jesus was glorified.
Here’s one of the insights from Paul about his life in the Spirit:
When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:4-10 ESV
The Holy Spirit always aims to teach us what he is able and willing to do through us as we submit to him now and in our glorious future. Our real strength is revealed when we submit to the words of Jesus and allow the Spirit to show his power.
As you read scripture this week, ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what you need to know to accomplish the will of Jesus in your realm of influence. In addition, meditate on this song, because what he asks us to do requires more strength than our own.