God's Gracious Commands

Sam Petitfils

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)

In one sense, God’s requires much of us. He asks us to forsake the glories of this life and its empty promises and to pursue a life with Him. In some instances, He even asks us to be willing to forsake family if that means following Him (Luke 12:49-53). Serving God carries enormous costs for the child of God, costs that he or she must be willing to pay.

In another sense, obeying God does not create an undue burden for the believer, such as stated in the passage above, 1 John 5:3. The entire Book of First John describes differences between believers and unbelievers. Believers can now obey God because God has renewed their hearts and given them a desire to follow Him. God remakes their natures through the new birth (Titus 3:5) creating in them holy desires. Of course, God does not yet make us perfect in this life, but He does change us to such a degree that we have strong desires to obey Him.

The new nature God provided us must be fed at regular intervals. We must not do things that impede our spiritual progress (1 Peter 2:11), but instead grow in our faith and add the virtues of a godly life (1 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Peter 1:5-7). When we attempt to walk a tightrope between our new life in Christ and the old life, we create unnecessary difficulties for ourselves. Then God’s commands do become burdensome. But when we daily submit to God in worship, prayer, and obedience, His commands seem a delight, as King David discovered (Psalm 119:32; 119:97-98; 119:111-112). We will not feel compelled against our will to walk with God, but consider it our highest privilege.

Begin each day with this thought and prayer:

“O Lord, I belong to you, and to you I give my life to serve, honor and live for you. Keep me clear from sinful dangers, and from the haunts of my old sin nature. May I ever pursue the godly paths you have commanded, and may I keep pressing forward in the path of your will.”

If we would just daily renew our commitment to God, and set apart each day for Him, we would not view His commands as rigorous, but as joyful tokens of God’s dear love for us.

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