For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. (1 John 5:3)
Pastor John’s Notes:
God’s commandments are an expression of his character. The commandments were not given to us to be a burden, but to liberate us from the sorrow and brokenness of this world and to show us a new way of living. To love God is to desire God’s character. It means that we want to become like God and live in harmony with Him. This love requires our obedience.
At the beginning of our spiritual journey, God will often give us a time of joy and delight. We are enraptured with God and seek to walk closely with Him day-by-day. For some, God will provide an immediate deliverance from some sin that has held them in bondage. This time of elation is like a honeymoon period. It is a gift of God to celebrate the new life that is before us.
But soon we begin to sense the calling of the Holy Spirit to address the patterns of our lives that are out of alignment with God’s purposes. We see that there is much work to be done within our souls to repair the damage of sin and to equip us for a lifetime of service. It is here that Satan begins to resist us. The temptations we endure seem greater than before. We can begin to face discouragement, which is one of the enemy’s greatest weapons. At this point, if we have no one to coach us, we might begin to believe that our earlier joy was a delusion. We might also start to think that God has abandoned us or even begin doubting God’s existence.
The struggle to obey often requires a long and enduring battle, one that we may not have anticipated. To love God with our emotions is easy; to love God with our obedience requires work. But God is with us to encourage us. Even when we fall, our confession is pleasing to God. If we do not give up, we will indeed make progress. A life of growing obedience is a great joy, not only to God, but also to us.
Heavenly Father, help me to grow in obedience. Show me that your commandments are not a burden, but are life-giving. Give me the joy of victory over temptation, not by my own power, but by the power of your Holy Spirit at work within me. Let my obedience be an act of worship to you, who have called me out of darkness into your wonderful light.