Love or Burden (1 John 5:2-3)

1 John 5:2-3 – By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

Have you noticed that there is an entire world out there that tells us that, if we as Christians want people to find Christianity appealing, we need to get rid of our focus on the commandments of God? Sadly, many churches and believers have adopted such a mentality. They assume that the way that people are really going to love God is for them to think about the benefits they receive in him without so much focus on commands, rules, and requirements. Like many arguments, this seems to make sense to our logical minds, but it fails the test of scripture.

To love God is to keep his commandments. There is no way that any person is living a Christian life or truly loving God if they are not actually obeying the commands of God. As we have said before, this does not indicate sinless perfection on the part of the children of God. None of us are perfect yet, and so we will fail on occasion to do what we should. At the same time, if we love God, we will obey him more often than not. We will feel great sorrow when we fail to obey him, and we will repent, turning to obedience from disobedience. This is not some rulesy and legalistic way of thinking about Christianity, it is what the Bible says is the love of God.

And, before we hang our heads and sadly give in to scripture even though we do not like this talk of obedience to commands, let us also see the truth of the end of verse three. God tells us that this commands are not burdensome. For the one who is in Christ, to love, obey, and serve God is no burden; it is a joy. God created us to love him. He designed us to serve him. When we actually do what he made us to do, we have true joy in our hearts. We have satisfaction in our souls. Obedience is not the down side of following Christ, because the commands of God are not burdens. Instead of being burdens, God’s commands are our path to true soul satisfaction and joy.

Dear Lord, I pray that you will help me to love you. Help me to obey you. Help me to find my soul’s deepest satisfaction and joy in following your commands. Let me never look at your commands as burdens. Instead, help me to see your words as life.