God’s Commands Are Filtered Through His Love

February 28, 2022

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

Ever notice that God tells us to start and then God tells us to stop?

The Bible is full of prohibitions, and God’s instructions to help us avoid pitfalls. But we must remember that all the “do’s” and all the “do not’s” are filtered through God’s love.

The reason God tells us not to do some things is not because He is a cosmic killjoy.

It’s because He is a Father who wants the best for us. He doesn’t want us to waste our lives or settle for less than the best, so He tells us to run from this and turn away from that.

We think we understand, but when it comes to actually living out these commands, we begin to question God, especially when He tells us to stop doing something we really enjoy doing. In fact, it’s in these moments when we start asking, Does God really love me?  Because if He does, why would He want to take this away from me??

In other words, we tend to think of His prohibitions as exceptions to His love.

But, let me repeat: 

“All of God’s commands are filtered through His love.”

Even the painful ones.

Case in point is the rich, young ruler.

The Bible tells us that crowds were following Jesus wherever He went in those days, and there must have been a sharp contrast between this rich guy and the crowd pressing in on Him. They were dirty; he was clean. They were poor; he was rich. They were shabby; he was finely dressed.   

Then the rich guy stepped up with a simple and straightforward question for Jesus: “What do I need to do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus responded that he should keep the law. 

The man claimed that he was already doing that. Wasn’t there something more? 

That’s when Jesus came in with the zinger:

“Sell it all. Become poor. Then you can follow Me.” 

The Bible says that the man went away very sad because he had great wealth.

In a nutshell, here’s what Jesus said: “Don’t keep your money if you want to follow me.” We might be tempted to look at this prohibition as too harsh and unloving. But it is not, and the Bible is explicit in helping us understand this is not the case.

With Jesus, prohibitions are not exceptions to love; they flow from it. Notice the order here in Mark 10:21:

  • Step 1: Jesus looked at him and loved him.
  • Step 2: Jesus gave him a command.

Before He uttered a word, Jesus loved this man. And he loved him enough to tell Him to sell everything He had. Why do you think He did that? Because Jesus knew that as long as the man’s riches were his first love, there would be no room for Jesus to be his Lord and Master. 

We would all do well to remember the underlying truth of this story. 

Because today, and every day, we will come up against the hard commands of Jesus. And the temptation will be for us to regard Him as ungenerous and uncaring. Anything but loving. 

But here is when we must come back to what we know to be true, rather than what we might think at the moment. 

And what do we know to be true?


And every command is evidence of that love.

Do you believe it?

Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor

To read more of Michael’s writing, check out his daily blog, Forward Progress http://michaelkelley.co/