Friday, 19 July 2013

Works that come from love.

1 John 5:1-5
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
There's no doubt a lot that can be pulled out of these five verses, but I just want to focus on verses two and three: "This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world."

Why do we have to obey God

First up I want to address the question of why, as Christians, do we have to obey God? Obedience and Faith are tied very closely together. If we put our faith in God and have repented of our sins (if we are truly Christians we have done/do this), then we need to give up sin. The point of repentance is saying sorry for rebelling against God and turning around. If it's true sorrow for sin then we would be doing the opposite sand obeying God instead.

Faith is similar - is we put our trust in Jesus that he died for our sins, then we will also trust him that his ways are better than ours and we will obey Him.

If we are Christians then we are called to obey God. Our works do not save us. But we are saved and as a result we do works. It's like medicine - true medicine will fix a problem. If we are truly saved we will work at preventing sin in our lives because we are saved. It's only good medicine if it fixes the problem.

We love God by obeying him and we obey him out of love.

Everything about our obedience to God is based on love. It;s not about having to obey God, or duty. It's about being thankful to God and loving him. When we realise that Jesus died for our sins and how little we deserved that, we should be motivated to love and serve him. We don't do it as a way of repaying him, we do it out of gratitude for what he has already done for us. We can never repay God for all he has done for us.

Of course, we won't always want to obey God. Life is hard, and temptations are sometimes very hard to resist. We don't always want to obey God. But if we truly love him and are thankful for all he has done, then we need to dutifully obey him even if it isn't what we want.

We aren't forced into obeying God. We aren't his slaves in that sense. We don't obey a cruel master out of fear. We obey a compassionate and merciful master out of love. We obey a faithful and loving father out of respect and thankfulness because he has adopted us into his family and forgiven us of our sin (if we are Christians).

Part of love is being selfless. Christ died for us our of love for us even though we didn't deserve it. God deserves our obedience and we should be ready to give up some of the things of this world out of love for him. I'm not married, but I think it would be a similar situation: If you love your wife, you would give things up to spend time with her or to please her.

We should love to please God, even if we don't love giving up some things which we enjoy (that are sinful). We should give them up because we love God more.

The question is then, how do we love God more?

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Read the bible. Know God's word and know what he has done, and know who he is.
  • Spend time dwelling on God's character and praising him not only for what he has done, but for who he is. 
  • Pray. If reading the bible is God speaking to us, and prayer is us speaking to God, then to have a true relationship with God we need to do both. "Cast your anxieties on him" (1 Peter 5:7) and also spend time praising him for who he is.
  • Obey him. John says: "this is love for God: to keep his commands." - we show our love for God by obeying him.
God Bless,
Nat.

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