John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Is that a commandment? Or a statement of fact? Or both?
Read the rest of the chapter.
Jesus is talking to the disciples about God the Holy Spirit (the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth) and what will happen once he moves from the outside to the inside of them. At that moment he is with them, inside of Jesus but not yet inside of them. “You know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.” (verse 17)
Although they had seen Jesus do many wonderful things and they themselves had done many of the same things, there were still “greater works than these” (verse 12) that they couldn’t do yet. But they would be able to do them once God inhabited their bodies.
I’m not sure they completely understood all that, before it actually happened. Isn’t that the same problem today? Some of us want to understand how things work, beforehand. Some things you have to “take on faith,” however. Believe first. Then see.
Well, if the 100% pure God has taken up residence inside of you, some things begin to happen. He begins to “infect” you with himself, rearrange your life, your thought patterns, your likes and dislikes, your feelings, habits and activities. Transform you, spirit, soul and body.
The pace and degree to which he succeeds depends on you, your cooperation. Don’t like yourself? Cooperate with him better. Let him infiltrate, like water infiltrating a sponge.
Jesus said, ” Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40) The problem was, nobody could do it. Yet.
But now “We love him, because he first loved us.” (I John 4:19) We can authentically love him now, because he enables us – from the inside of us – to love him back, and to love other people too.
Unless he does the enabling, we won’t do it very well. God doesn’t force us to accept his love, his salvation, his presence, his enablement. We’re his coworkers, not his puppets. And the more we cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the better at it we’ll get.