John 14:15 (New International Version)
15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples: ‘If you love me, you will keep my commands’ (John 14:15). He says the same thing in reverse: ‘Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me’ (John 14:21). He extends the invitation to everyone: ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching’ (John 14:23). He gives the negative version: ‘Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching’ (John 14:24). Clearly, there is a connection between loving Jesus and obeying Jesus.
A carrot in front of a donkey will coax it forward and a stick behind the donkey has the same effect. Motivation is often described in these terms, carrot or stick. We do things to receive a reward or to avoid a punishment. But not when it comes to obeying Jesus. The motivation is not to receive a reward (perhaps go to heaven?) or to avoid a punishment (hell?). The motivation is not what our action or inaction might result in, good or bad. Rather, our motivation is a consequence of our relationship to Jesus. We obey because we love him. And we love because he first loved us.
Do you love Jesus? Keep his commands!