If – then. It’s a conditional response. If something happens, then this will be the result. It’s predictable. Conversely, if something doesn’t happen, then you can’t have that result. Makes sense, doesn’t it? In John 14, Jesus uses five if statements. Did you notice?
Verse 7 “if you had known me”
Verse 14 “if you ask me”
Verse 15 “If you love me”
Verse 23 If anyone loves me
Verse 28 If you loved me
Now here’s the thing. Each of these is tied to a result.
Verse 7 – If you know me, [then] you know my Father
Verse 14 – If you ask me, [then] I will do it
Verse 15 – If you love me, [then] you will keep my commandments
Verse 23 – If anyone loves me, [then] he will keep my word
Verse 28 – If you love me, [then] you will rejoice (tense adjusted)
One thing strikes me as I read these. They are all reactionary as opposed to actionary. What I mean is that no additional action is required on my part. Learning about Jesus and knowing him (v7), for example, means that I also know God. Nothing further is needed from me. Continue with verse 15. Our love for Jesus is all that is required for obedience. In other words, keeping his commandments is a natural outflow of our love for him. Now, follow the rest through.
As I review Jesus’ If-then statements, I see that I overcomplicate my relationship with him. I only need to know him. It is that simple. To know Him is to love him and, as you can see, our lives become rightly ordered if only we put Him first.