WILL I EVER OBEY GOD LIKE I WANT TO? by Adriel Sanchez for Core Christianity
I’m writing to the Christian who feels depressed because they repeatedly fail to obey God’s law. It’s not that you want to disobey, but instead you say with Paul, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15). You love God but you don’t love him perfectly. In fact, sometimes you even question if your love is sincere. “If I really loved God, would I have responded like that!?” You long to overcome certain sins in your life, but you question whether or not you’ll ever be able to. I’m writing to you.
In the Old Testament, God gave his sinful people a promise: “The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deut. 30:6)
If you’re familiar with the history of God’s people, you know they struggled repeatedly with obedience to God. They broke the first covenant he made with them, the Mosaic Covenant, so God promised to make a new covenant. This verse in Deuteronomy 30 is referring to that covenant (it’s also described in places like Jeremiah 31:31-34). In this new covenant, God was going to forgive his people all their sins and write his law of love upon their hearts. When Jesus died on the cross, he set in motion that new covenant (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25). If you’ve placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you are spiritually alive, and the new heart promised in the new covenant is beating within you.
But I don’t love the LORD with all my heart and with all my soul like Deuteronomy 30:6 promised. I wish I did! You need to understand that right now—this side of glory—your love for God will falter due to sin. No one perfectly keeps the law of God, which is precisely why the Father sent Jesus into the world. Jesus obeyed the law perfectly in the place of law breakers. You can stand confident before the Father because of Christ’s obedience, knowing that the once-bitter law no longer has the power to threaten you. Freed from its condemnation, you can now begin to fulfill God’s law of love by the Spirit, in a way that was previously impossible.