Reprinted from the sermon archives of the late Bible teacher, Ray Stedman:
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:21).
To read this, “Obey Me, and you will love Me,” produces a mechanical, dry Christianity with no warmth or joy or glory. But what Jesus says is, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” It is easy to do, not difficult. Notice that it is not, “If you love Me, you will have to keep My commandments.” No, it is cause and effect: “If you love Me, the result is that you will keep My commandments.” That is the secret of all proper behavior in the Christian experience. The proof of our love is obedience.
If it takes love to obey, what produces love? That is the issue. If you see a Christian disobeying Christ or you are tempted to disobey, what is it that will turn you around and make you obey? It is love. How do you produce love? What will make you love Him? This is what ties together verses 20 and 21. It is that basic secret of our identity that creates love—the Spirit in us, releasing to us the love of Jesus, awakens love from us in return.
Remember how John puts it in his first letter: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Remembering this awakens love. Or, as Paul puts it in Romans 5, “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). Therefore, the way to produce love is to remember who you are, to whom you belong, and who He is—His death, His resurrection, and His unity with you, His present indwelling life. You cannot remind yourself of that without experiencing a renewed sense of His love and feeling gratitude to Him for who He is and what He has done in your life. When that love begins to flow, then you are being motivated to obey. (www.raystedman.org)