Read John 15:10
10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. (NLT)
We can make a big mistake by thinking that God will only love us if we do the right thing by him. Our obedience somehow earns his love. Once we disobey him, we forfeit that love. At first glance, Jesus’ statement here might give support to that thinking.
But it does not. It is not as if we stop being loved when we wander from Jesus’ ways. It is rather that we do not have that sense of being loved. We lose the relational aspect of that love. We don’t ‘abide’ in that love as the older translations say.
Any parents know this. Our children may treat us badly or have little to do with us. That doesn’t mean we don’t love them. But it does mean neither they nor we can experience that love. The love is there but it has little effect on anyone. Only when parents and children respect and care for one another is the underlying love experienced.
If I feel that being loved by God is merely a stated biblical doctrine, part of the overall fabric of belief, then perhaps it is because I am not intent on obeying him. And the remedy for that is not to embark on some futile exercise of trying to feel the love, but rather to identify his will and stick to it.
It is one thing to be loved. It is another thing to live in the light of that love.