5 But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected.
23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me.
The Greek word for “keep” means to watch, keep an eye on. Keeping His Word must mean always referencing His written and spoken Word toward us when we make decisions which lead to actions. We are to meditate on His Word, so His thoughts become our thoughts, and then our attitudes and actions will be like His.
But what does love have to do with keeping His Word? Obeying God actually “completes” or perfects our love of God according to 1 John. Without obedience to His Word, we are not fully loving God. We are partially loving God.
I can only think of a child obeying his parent here. We may obey a parent out of fear of punishment, but as a parent, I would rather that my child obey me out of love. I would hope that their affection for and trust in me would weigh heavily in their decision making process (although I know it is not always so). I hate falling back on threats of privileges being removed, but I also know that, just like me, they struggle internally between their own self-serving desires and their desire to please me and do the right thing.
It is the same with me and God. My obedience is outward proof that my profession of love and admiration and trust in Him is not all lip service, like the Pharisees. Do I REALLY love God enough to give up my own selfish desires and demands to obey Him? This is my struggle every day.
When we face decisions that position our wants against the Word of God, let us remember that our act of choosing His Word over our selves is an act of love and worship. Hopefully this will tilt the balance in His favor in the heat of the moment of decision-making.