Loving God and obeying his command
When one believes that Jesus Christ is Lord and places is his faith in him, everything should change. It is not just merely an intellectual exercise but a transformation of our minds and hearts as His Spirit lives in us. The inner transformation must be accompanied by an outer display of love for others and love for God’s commands. John was probably writing at a time when there were people who claimed to be Christians but did not have love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. It is no different from today. Many call themselves Christians but disobey God and says things contrary to God’s commands. To love God is to obey his commandments. Normally, when one thinks of commandments, one thinks of instructions or orders and there is no joy in carrying those commandments out. Yet, John tells us that God’s commands are not burdensome. Only when we trust God and place our faith in him then we can understand what John is saying.
The Scottish minister, William Barclay, has a story about a lad who's on his way to school. It's in the days before transportation and yellow buses. And he's carrying someone on his back, smaller than himself, unable to walk. And a person says to this lad, “Do you carry him to school every day?” “Yes,” the boy says. “That's a heavy burden for you to carry.” “He is no burden,” he says. “He's my brother.” “This is no burden. He's my brother.” Obedience. And the obedience of a child of God to the commandments of God is not something burdensome. “I delight to do Thy will. Yea, O my God, Thy law is within my heart.”
When we know God is always good, always faithful, is the better planner, a promise keeper and much more we will obey his commands with joy and peace in our hearts. I cycle with my son everyday and I would always tell him, please go slow down the hill otherwise you might fall. He will give me a disappointed look on his face because he wants to go downhill at a speed. My commandment to him came from a point of love, care and concern to prevent harm to him. He probably thinks my command is burdensome but failed to realise that my instructions are to protect him. I think sometimes we can be like that and we must come to place in which we remember who God is and remember what He has done for us.
We all heard it before. When you are a believer in Christ, you are victorious. But to be victorious, we also have to be victorious in our obedience to God’s commands. In this text, John seems to have thought that they are closely related, I think it is. When we walk in obedience to God, we are placing faith in God and only then can we experience his victory over the world. A world that embraces sin, full of temptations and that puts value in possessions and status. One example is when Jesus encountered the rich young ruler in Luke 18 where he tells him to sell all your possession and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. The point of Jesus’ message is of course not to idolized your possessions but let God be the centre of your lives. Our status in life is not defined by the amount of zeros in our bank account but in knowing that Christ values us so much that he died on the cross for our sins. We must remove the shackles of this world on our lives and focus on things above. Faith in God and his commands keeps our eyes fixed on Jesus, rather than what may seem attractive to the world. The world makes it seem that God’s commands are burdensome, but once we are born again and we live a spirit filled life, we are free to obey with joy.
Heavenly father, help us love you more and love others as you have commanded. May the Holy Spirit guide us to trust you and be willing to obey all that you have commanded us to. We thank you that we are also overcomers because you have overcome the world. In Jesus name, Amen.