If you love me, you will obey my commandments.
Obedience clearly has benefits as revealed in many places of scripture, but if the motive for that obedience is the wrong motive, we will lose sight of the gospel and what Christ has done for us. If our motive becomes a way we try to prove “how good we are” when in fact Jesus said there is none good but One, God, we must go back to understanding the truth about the good news. When we do our motive will shift to an appreciation for what the Lord has done for us.
We are tempted James said with our own desires. If there was no desire for sin, then we could not be tempted. But our old fleshly nature has within it the desire for sin. When we try to overcome sin with a focus on us being good, we will eventually fail and fall prey to sin. The way you overcome sin is by loving someone more than your flesh loves sin, and that someone is Jesus. This is where the gospel comes in. Why should we love Him? Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
When you truly understand the gospel, you realize Jesus exhibited His love for us by not only going through the death of the cross, but He also took the punishment that our sin deserved. When we fully understand what He went through for us, we get a true picture of the gospel, and that produces a love for Him, which leads to obedience. Our obedience is the result of loving Him more than our flesh loves sin. We are to present our bodies unto God as a holy sacrifice, and when our love for Him is the reason we do so, the focus remains where it should always be, on Him not on us.