Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 24 October 19:
1 John 5:3 — For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Today, John adds that if you love God, you will keep His commandments, and it won’t be burdensome to do so. Why? Because it isn’t burdensome to do what you truly desire in your heart to do. Love is the ultimate motivator.
Some are motivated to obey God out of fear, but fear is a tremendous burden which robs a person of their joy, stifles the person’s growth, and robs that person of a healthy relationship with God – relationships are built on trust, not fear. Some are motivated to obey God in hopes of gaining approval, an award or blessings. This too is arduous toil which inevitably wanes as it fails to achieve the intended results. And reward-based obedience is self-centered, superficial and artificial, not the foundation a close relationship. Still others will be motivated to obey God from a sense of duty. Once again, duty is a burden, a response to what is required rather than desired, performance more than passion. Duty is powerful and usually honorable but still falls short of love – Would you be more excited about someone giving you a gift because she knew she should or because she genuinely wanted to give it to you? Would you be able to tell the difference between an act of duty and an act of desire?
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5) “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) All of us recognize our obedience often remains burdensome, a struggle. We have mixed, imperfect motives because we are still growing in our love as we grow in our faith. How do we grow in love? We abide in God’s love — “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19) Obey God and pray that He will increasingly strengthen your desire to obey and joy in obedience.
– 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 — For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 24 October 19: Today, consider the motives behind your obedience, and pray that God will help you obey in love.