(1 John 5: 1-3, NLT) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome.
If God’s commandments are not burdensome, then why is it so hard for us to keep them? It shouldn’t be so difficult really — to be honest and kind, to be true and loving, to be content and faithful — but we fail so often! We are given choices every day — to sin or not to sin — and we mull over these decisions, allowing them to become burdens to us. It should be so simple, right? But it isn’t. We have made these choices difficult and heavy, and because of sin, the black and white become fused together, forming a gray area that was never intended to exist…for with God there is no gray area. His commandments are time-honored, steadfast, and never-changing. And though He has given us choice in each matter of our lives, it is always this or that. There is no in between.
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3: 15-16, NLT)
We spend too much time worrying over these moral choices, and we waste time and energy trying to figure out how to justify certain actions and decisions — looking for loopholes in the laws. Well, there are no loopholes. God doesn’t play games, and He doesn’t mince His words. It is what it is. Don’t lie means don’t lie. The end will never justify the means. There is nothing that you can do to manipulate things in your favor when it comes to sin. It’s just sin. Yes, there is grace to cover it, but the condition of your heart is what is truly in question. The Lord knows your heart — every hidden motive and thought — and He is gracious and willing to forgive when He sees a repentant heart that is saddened by its own sin.
What it all boils down to, and what will clear these muddied waters, is love. Operate in love, because when you think, live, and emanate God’s love, there is really never any doubt over what to do. You see, when Jesus came to us, He came that we might have everlasting life, but He also came to simplify things for us, so that we have every chance to bridge the gap that sin created between God and His children (us).
(Matthew 22: 37-40, NLT) 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
And there you have it…from the mouth of Christ Himself…it all goes back to love. Pretty simple, huh? Think before you act, and if it doesn’t reflect God’s love in you, don’t do it. And when you do make wrong choices, because of God’s Spirit and love in you, you will be grieved by sin and, in turn, repent.
Love God. Love others. Everything else will come.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your love. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to show us how easy it is to obey Your commandments, simply by living out Your love first. Help me, Lord, to remember this first and greatest commandment, so that I am making choices that glorify and honor You. It’s only by Your love…Amen.