“Love the Lord your God….” (Mark 12:30).
The great source and wellspring of holiness and righteousness is the love of Christ Himself, and the true test of love is obedience; it is not Hollywood-style sweet emotion, or enthusiasm, or zeal, or sacrificial acts; it is simple obedience.
In the gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ drew a line in the sand; on one side were those who obeyed His words; “they love Me” He said. On the other side were those who did not obey His words; “they love me not” He said. (see John 14:21, for example).
The truth is that our relation to Christ is determined by our attitude to His words; the believer cannot be certain of the quality of his love for the Lord, until he is faced with the words of Christ that fly in a different direction to his own will, and he is faced with a choice of which to follow.
But Christians are born men, with all the frailties that men are heir to, and we have a tendency to kid ourselves and invent various subterfuges that are a smokescreen and a substitute for that obedience which God demands.
It began at the very beginning of mankind when “..the woman saw that tree was good for food…..and pleasant….and to be desired to make one wise…and took of the fruit and ate and gave to her husband also and he ate”. Faced with that moral crisis, our first parents covered themselves with leaves, probably from the tree of life, in a vain attempt to conceal their exposure. But the Fall fatally wounded man and his whole nature was infected, the sin in his heart overflowing into his total life; not just physically, but morally, spiritually, intellectually and psychologically. Now, in this world, we live in a perpetual crisis and it will last until sin has been put down and Christ reigns over a redeemed and restored world; the putting down of sin begins with me and with you.