Five Understandable Words for Today

"...His commands are not burdensome..." ! John 5:3b

Think about it... all creation - even in its fallen state - acts in obedience to God's commands. The orbit of earth around the sun, giving us four predictable seasons; the tides governed by the moon set in place at God's command; the expansion of the universe; the water cycle; and even the food chain are all subservient to the purposes of God. The psalmist even asserted that fire, hail, snow, clouds, and stormy winds all fulfill His Word. (Psalm 148:8) The book of Jonah teaches us a similar lesson when the winds, waves, a giant fish, a plant, and even a little worm all accomplished their purposes for which God directed. On the other hand, mankind prefers to exalt the trinity of self over the trinity of God. Me, myself, and I asserts one's own life direction and purpose, while ignoring God's loving plan for the pinnacle of His creation. 

While disobedience to God's will is akin to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23), reluctant obedience presents problems in the life of the Believer who grudgingly "cave" to the Father's will. Like any parent, God delights in His children's loving obedience. He doesn't want His children to act obediently our of fear or necessity. Just as we are directed to give cheerfully, not under compulsion, so we should live in like manner. (Read 2 Corinthians 9:7) So, how do we obey God joyfully? The apostle John asserts it is a family matter: we love and serve a God Who adopted us as His child, rescuing us from the refuse of life, and redeeming us for His eternal purposes. One of those eternal purposes is to love our sisters and brothers in Christ. We demonstrate God's love in us through the relationships we lovingly nurture between our sisters and brothers in Christ. By so doing, we fulfill Christ's command to love each other, being the ultimate reflection of our devotion to Him.

Love is not an ideal where one checks off the list of characteristics describing it; love is a dynamic relationship guided by the ideal. We can learn to love more deeply through the ideal, even though we can never "check the box" of having achieved it. Paul described the ideal of love beautifully in his letter to the Corinthian church. (Read 1 Corinthians 13) Jesus, however, described the dynamics of love in stories of how people are treated: 

Sympathetic love was shown by a Samaritan to a traveler who was beaten and left for dead by the side of the road (Luke 10:25-37); 

Merciful love was shown by Jesus to the woman who washed His feet with her tears (Luke 7:40-47)

Restoring love was shown by the father to his prodigal son who returned home (Luke 15:11-32)

For the Christian, our love for our fellow Believer, as well as for the world, is founded upon the cross. It is our personal experience with God's love toward us through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross that motivates our love toward others. It is an outward expression of the inward experience, when God whispered our name, calling us to Himself, and pouring faith into our hearts. After awakening to the redeeming work of God's love, we then share that love to others in need of the same. We become the conduit of God's love to a fallen world. 

Will you join me in displaying sympathetic, merciful, and restoring love to those beaten down by life, weighed down by a ton of guilt and shame, and who are looking for a way back to life? Be the hands and feet of Jesus this day to those whose lives you cross, as you discover


John 3:30