A challenge, not a burden

1 John 5:1-5

Jesus said, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). That has been an encouraging invitation for many weary souls. And for good reason! It removes the burden of having to prove yourself worthy of salvation and love. You aren’t and you don’t have to be. Jesus has done and is everything needed for you.

In turn, you can now love freely and wholly. Love God and love others with all your being.

To be sure, to love that way requires faith and obedience. First, faith in who Jesus is. That will also strengthen your faith in who God has called you to be. I can’t help but think of Jesus on the shore after his resurrection. When he asked Peter three times about his love, it feels like it was an assurance Jesus had in who Peter would soon prove to be. Obedience is also an important response. Obedience to God’s way. Love is something you feel, but it is also an action you take for someone else. Scripture shows us how tightly wound love for others is with love for God. 

Now, let me assure you, as you learn to love God and others with everything you have, you will be challenged. You’ll be challenged to consider who you love and why you love them. The boundaries of your love are fair game as well. Your pride and selfishness will not go uncontested along the way either.

The faith God gives us conquers the world (1 John 5:4). Again, you don’t have to conquer anything yourself. It is finished. That also means we don’t have to submit to the powers that be because Christ has overcome. Of course, when we find that we fall in line with those powers, that part of our life is overcome as well. Our fancy theological word for such a transformation is sanctification. We’re being made more holy, sanctified, as our faith perseveres.

Yes, that can be a hard process. But it isn’t a burden. That’s what 1 John 5 reminds us. Following God is not a burdensome chore to accomplish or achieve. It is a freeing grace. A conquering gift. An assurance of God’s love for us. 

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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