1 John 5:3 Not Hard Commands

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,” 1 John 5:3

As John is bringing his letter to a close, he talked again about loving God. He first stated that if one loves God, he will do what God commands. Now he states that the commands are not burdensome, or a heavy, difficult load.

Most people do not like to hear of commands as to what they can do or cannot do. They want to be able to do what they want when they want and think that is the best way to live.

In reality, every person needs some rules to live by. If there are no rules to live by there is chaos. There would be no peace, because you cannot know what is going to happen next. You do not know how to act or react to a situation, if there are no rules or commands.

Many people like to think of God’s commands as heavy and burdensome and very complex. They believe the commands are difficult to follow.

Yet, God’s commands are actually very simple. Jesus stated it best when He said that all of the Law and the prophets were built on two commands: love God, and love others.

Most often, people are selfish in their words or actions. They are only looking out for themselves. This is where hurt and pain come in. This is where trying to follow God’s commands become a heavy burden.

If you really love God, you will not do anything to harm Him in any way. If you really love people, you will not do anything to harm them in any way.

A very simple way to look at things is that every time you are about to say or do something, ask yourself how would God want me to speak or act in this situation. Are these words or actions showing love?

Allow God’s love for you to fill your heart with love for Him and for others. Allow love to strengthen and guide you in following His commands to love others. At that point they will no longer be a challenge, but a joy. They will bring the needed boundaries and peace needed in life.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you and others; that you will be filled with His love; that you will love God with everything in you; that you will love people as God loves them; and that you will have joy in following God’s commands.

1 John 4:18 Getting Rid Of Fear

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

Every person has something that he fears. For each person it is most likely a little different. Some common fears that most people are willing to talk about are fears of snakes or spiders, fear of heights, fear of the dark, and other fears.

While most people will talk about these fears, there are other fears most people will not discuss. Some of these are fear of rejection, fear of a loss of a job, fear of a spouse leaving, fear of God’s rejection and other fears.

The common thing of all these fears is punishment or pain. They expect to get harmed in some way by something and fear that pain.

Love, however, changes all of the expectations. God is the ultimate, perfect love. He has everything under control and wants everything to work out for your benefit. God is not standing up in heaven waiting to strike you down. He is waiting there for you to come to Him for help. That is the whole reason He sent Jesus to die on the cross for you, to help you.

Keep this in mind when something comes up that you fear. Remember the perfect love Jesus has for you. He will not allow anything to happen to you that is not for your benefit.

Some things may come that are painful, but if they draw you closer to God, is it not worth it? If the pain makes you more like Jesus, is it not worth it?

Think of the athlete who pushes his body to be the best in his sport. It causes pain at first but gets the reward later.

God has a reward in store for you. His perfect love will ensure that reward is coming. Allow His perfect love in your life to drive out all fear. Don’t think of things happening as a punishment, but a way to make you more like Jesus.

This love comes from God, and you can pass it on to other people. Do not allow fear in your life, push it out with God’s love in your own life and in the lives of others.

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you more; that God’s love will drive out all fear in your life; that you will not fear God or His plans for your life; and that you will have God’s love for all others.

1 John 4:8 Do You Know God?

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

Many people claim to know God. Most of them are found in the church, while a few are outside the church. When a person claims to know God it can be difficult to know the truth of their statement without watching their life closely.

James states that if a person does not love, then he really does not know God. The way to tell if a person really knows God is how well they love others. The reason this can be this way is that God is love. To know God is to know love.

When a person really understands the love God has for them, he will then want to pass that love on to other people. Think about what God did for you. He sent His only son to this earth for you. Not many people would be willing to send their only son a long ways away for many years for someone who does not like them or even know them. Yet, this is what God did for you.

Not only was Jesus sent to this earth for you, He was sent to die for you. His whole purpose in coming to this earth was to die on a cross for you. That was not some accident, it was the plan of God from the beginning. This shows true love. As John said, God is love.

When you realize the amount of love God has for you, you will want to love Him back. One of the ways He wants that love shown is in showing others that same love.

Love is more than just saying some words. It is doing things for others. It is putting others first. It is looking out for the best for others first. It is forgiving others. It is patient with others. Look at 1 Corinthians 13 to get a good list of what love really is.

If you really know God, then you will really love others as God loved you. We love because He first loved us.

Do you really love others?

Do you really know God?

Or do you claim to know God?

I pray today that God will reveal more of His love to you; that God will fill you with His love; that God will strengthen you to love others; and that you will fully know God in every way.

1 John 4:1 Testing Every Spirit

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

Everywhere you look there are people who claim to be following God. They state that they are Christians and know God. Many will even be in the church every time the doors are open. Yet, while they claim and look good, they teach or believe something that goes directly against God’s Word.

Often their teachings are very subtle. Unless you are paying close attention, the false teaching may not be seen. It is usually mixed with a lot of truth.

People like to think that it is not such a problem, yet being off even a little can bring a person way off later.

In the short distance being off just one inch does not seem like much. However, staying that one inch off for a thousand miles will put you many miles off of your target.

Allowing yourself to be off target a little will also open the door for you to be even more off in something else. It is an open door to the schemes of the devil to deceive you and get you away from Jesus.

John says that you are to test every spirit. This testing is holding what is being said up against God’s Word. Does it line up with God’s Word?

Every person you hear should be tested against God’s Word. This even includes your pastor in your church. Do not allow any wrong teaching to be done.

In addition to testing others, test yourself. What are you teaching? Everyone teaches by what they say and do in life. They are teaching others how they feel Jesus would act and speak.

Are you living by God’s Word? Or are you slightly off and being a false prophet?

Allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you and keep you on track with Him. Do not lead astray or be allowed be led astray.

I pray that God will open your eyes to any false teachings; that you will seek God’s Holy Spirit to guide you; that you will not be led astray in your beliefs of God; and that you will test every spirit and know the truth.

1 John 3:18 True Love

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18

With Valentines Day just a few days away, there is lots of talk of love. People are deciding what they will get the ones they love. Advertisements are telling people what they need to do or get to show their love.

Telling a person that you love him is easy to do. Getting things for that person is also easy to do. It usually does not take too much thought or effort to do either of these things.

This is the world’s way of showing love to a person. It is a very superficial love. There is no sacrifice, and very little meaning behind the words or gifts.

John tells believers to not use words or speech, but to use actions and truth. Telling a person that you love him is easy, but taking time to listen to all of his concerns is more difficult, and taking time and effort to help meet those needs can be a challenge.

God did not just say that He loved us, He sent Jesus to this earth. Jesus did not just say that He love you, He died on the cross for you. He paid the price for your sins. He took care of your greatest need. It was with action, not just words.

Words have their place, but they need to be accompanied with action and truth. True words of love will come from the heart and have actions following.

The world likes to love with words only. Think of how many actors or singers say they “love” their fans. Yet, they do not want to get their hands dirty with your needs. They do not want to be inconvenienced. They do not take the time to really get to know you. These are all things that God has done for you, and He is greater than any person in this world.

Find ways to show your love as you tell someone you love them. Seek to meet their needs and really love them in truth.

I pray today that God will reveal His love for you; that God will fill you with His love for other people; that God will show you ways to show your love to others; and that you will love people in truth.