Joshua 22:5 (NLT) "Be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all His ways, obey His commands, hold firmly to Him and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul."
In this passage, we find Joshua, at the conclusion of his life, restating to Israel the primary and central message of all the Commands that God had given them through Moses: Love the Lord!
Love for God must be the fuel of our call, the motivation for our faith, and the purpose for our obedience! Love for God is what keeps you following Him regardless of disappointment and difficulty.
Jesus clarified this principle when questioned by an expert in Mosaic Law.
Matthew 22:35-38 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.
If you love God with all you are, all you are will always follow.
In John 21:15-19, after Peter had denied and abandoned Jesus, it is amazing to read that Jesus did not focus on the specifics of Peter’s disobedience. Instead, Jesus dealt with the heart of the matter – the “love issue” in Peter.
Three times, for three points of denial and disobedience, Jesus asks, “Peter, do you love me?” John 21:15, 16, 17
Peter answers each time – “Yes Lord, I love you”. Then Jesus issues this command to Peter. John 21:19 …. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Whole hearted, abandoned obedience to God is the outward evidence of whole hearted abandoned love for God.
John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands."