The Bible is filled with commands that Jesus gives to those who want to follow Him. He has the authority to demand compliance, but in His sovereignty Jesus lets man choose whether he wants to comply or not. In other words, He never insists on obedience. He strongly stresses what we ought to do, but He never forces.
We obey Jesus’ commands because we love Him (and we love Him because He first loved us.) We obey because we are one in spirit with Him and we want what He wants. We obey Jesus because He knows what is best for us and those around us.
In the scriptures, when Jesus talks about being a disciple, He employs the word “if.” Take a look at Luke 9:23 where Jesus is saying to His disciples: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and…” [NAS B] Clearly there is a choice involved. “If” you wish to follow Jesus, you must… and He lays out the condition. But the choice is in the hands of the recipient. Jesus is not demanding anything.
In the Luke 9 passage, Jesus is relating to those closest to Him, His faithful Disciples. He is not talking about their salvation, but about the day-to-day lifestyle of the true believer. There will always be choices—sometimes difficult ones—to be made in our lives, and we are free to make them as we wish. Nonetheless…
…there is a standard by which the believer lives and that standard is set by our Lord Jesus Christ. If we love Him, we will obey His commands.