Monday, September 12, 2005

Ice-Cream Mooncakes, Love and Obedience

Bien le bon jour. Slushed through the stormy rain, path barely visible, illuminated only by great flashes of lightning and accompanied by heart-stopping cracks of thunder, picked up some Hazelnut Haven from The Daily Scoop, and hustled home to take advantage of the great fall in temperature to make ice-cream mooncakes.

Not having the benefit of an air-conditioned kitchen or a marble slab, sub-20 degree celsius opportunities had to be grabbed.

As the bain marie was being prepped, a earworm crawled through the external auditory meatus of my mind. It was a techno-remix of the chorus of Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved":
I don't mind spending everyday
Out on your corner in the pouring rain
Look for the girl with the broken smile
Ask her if she wants to stay awhile
And she will be loved
And she will be loved
At the turntables was DJ Shadow (not the famous one, but my unconscious...which appears, to the great embarrassment of my conscious, to have turned out to be a Zouk phreak...eep).

How lovely it is to do mundane uncomfortable tasks for people we love. There's the excitement in the air of creating an affectionate surprise and the sweet promise of smiles. [Erm...right guys?]

Somehow, that shone a chink of light into the queries I've always about the relationship between loving God and obeying him. The Bible tends to link the two together:
Love the LORD your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. (Deuteronomy 11:1) very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul. (Joshua 22:5)

If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. (John 14:21)
We are told that our obedience to God is to be motivated by the fear of the LORD (eg. Deuteronomy 143:4), for he is the Ultimate Judge of all, and he is just (meaning we won't get away with bribes or hiring good honey-tongued lawyers), and his wrath is terrible.

At the same time, our obedience to God is also to be motivated by love for him (see quotes above). Possibly, one facet of this (and merely one facet because God, relationships and humans are too complex to be reduced to a few sentences) is that if we truly love someone, we are eager to do what pleases them.

Well, so we can't love God without wanting to please him. And we can't attempt to please God unless we know what pleases him. So what pleases God? Obeying his commandements/laws, being eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14). Even though we are no longer under the law because Jesus has fulfilled the law completely and perfectly on our behalf, the law is not obsolete (1 Timothy 1:8). It reveals the mind of God, informs us how God made us to live in relationship with him and with each other and so tells us how to please him whom we love.

And though we may struggle in this life to fear, love and obey God and keep his commandments, there will come a time when we, like Jesus, will love him perfectly and so please him perfectly.

That would be a happy place indeed...
Courtesy of The Business Times

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