Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
The Commands of God are not a Burden
1 John 5:1-5
I have two wonderful grandsons. One is four years old, the other two. One of my favorite times together is “the walk”. Together we walk through the neighborhood, along sidewalks and lakeside paths, in a process of discovery. The world is a fascinating place for toddlers. Both are finally past the stage of exploring everything with their mouth. However, nothing escapes their watchful eye. Consequently, everything the eye sees the hand wants to touch.
The world is filled with thorn and thistle, claws and fangs. My neighborhood is no different. As you can imagine, I spend a majority of our time along the journey barking out commands. “Don’t get too close”, “that’s very sharp, don’t touch”, “that duck will bite you!”; well, you get the idea. My love for them is so intense that allowing them to get hurt is unthinkable. However, not even ‘Grandpap’ is perfect.
My youngest grandson fell in the lake. After countless dissertations regarding water safety, a thousand instructions on how to hold tight and not get too close, my grandson, with all the skill of a gymnast, unlocked from my hand with a leap into a perfect hand stand and performed an Olympic style half gainer right into the lake. Only inches from his diving platform, I was able to quickly fish him out. But not before he was completely submersed and completely soaked. The air was cool that day and the water much cooler. Needless to say, he emerged screaming at the top of his lungs. Being submersed in that cold “ucky” water was not his idea of a good time. Several weeks have pasted since the “incident”, and my grandson still blames me for the whole ordeal.
One thing has changed; my grandson no longer sees my commands to stay away from the lake’s edge a burden. As a matter of fact, he rarely leaves the sidewalk while exploring the lake area. He remembers what it is like to be soaked and scared. He now understands my commands as loving and safe. (at least as far as the lake is concerned)
John begins to unfold a new idea for his readers. Loving God is about keeping His commands. That thought is nothing new. However, John now states that keeping the commands of God is not a burden for those of have been born of God and are people of faith. There is something about commands and love that cause those who know God to see them in perfect harmony; perfect balance. John teaches his readers that ‘love-prompted’ obedience to God’s commands is not a burden to His child. Simply stated, the commands of God draw us near to the Father and cause us to live like Christ. None of the commands are meaningless laws that do not affect the heart.
The Test of Genuine Love (vs 1)
If you love God, you must love your brother (4:20-21)
Born of God (those who believe Jesus is the Christ) (vs 1)
If you love the Father you love the Children of the Father (vs 1)
A New Look at Love (vs 2-3)
How can you know if your love is genuine toward people?
By loving God:
- Keep commandments
- Commandments are not a burden
Overcoming the World (vs 4-5)
What kind of person doesn’t consider God’s commands a burden?
- Born of God
- Victory by faith
- Truth regarding Jesus
True love never departs from the commands of God
To love someone is to move them closer to the commands of God
The commands of God are never a burden, and we are never found apologizing for them