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“If you love me” can be a tricky set of words. I’ve heard them used to manipulate others into doing things, and I’ve heard them used to convey truth about how relationships work. When you love someone you have a strong tendency to do things that they want, but that should never be held over your head.

In John 14 while Jesus was talking to His disciples at the Last Supper He told them a few things about love, and in verses 21, 23, and 24 He told them that love and keeping His commandments go hand in hand. While merely doing what someone says doesn’t necessarily mean that you love them, when you do love someone you like to do things that they like you to do, and you make an effort to do them. You do these things not to be accepted but because you are accepted. It works the same way when you believe in Jesus and are saved; you don’t follow the rules to be accepted, you follow them because you have been accepted. You are loved, so you love in return. When someone loves you, they don’t ask you to do harmful things, they want good things for and from you. God does not tell us to do harmful things either, and also wants good things for and from us.

A few examples: Growing up I did what my parents said not out of fear of consequences (though that was a factor before I understood the better reasons for behaving well) but out of love for them and the love I knew they had for me. When people are married they do what their spouse likes because they love them and know that they are loved. When people have friends we take into account things they like and don’t like because we love them and they love us. A Christian’s relationship with God works much the same way. God loves us and always has the best in mind for us, and out of love and trust for Him we will naturally tend to do what He likes.

Rules and Relationships
Instructions and Relationship
Why Do I Go to God?
Personal Relationship
Daily Relationship