Letters From John #7 - What’s Your Motivation?

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ (Anointed One) has been born of God, & everyone who loves  the Father loves whoever has been born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God & obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.1John 5:1-4
 
Over the years, I have had many conversations with Christians who lamented just how difficult it is to live their lives for Christ. They’ll say things like, “I try my best, but it seems that no matter how hard I work at it, its too much for me.”
 
In 1John 5:2,3 John tells us that the actions that reveal we belong to God are a) we love the children of God (other Christ-followers) & b) we obey His commandments. But then John says something that flies in the face of the experience of many Christians: “And His commandments are not burdensome.”
 
So, we love God & yet find His commands hard to keep - & John says they’re not.  What gives?
 
I looked up some synonyms for the word “burdensome” in my online thesaurus (Thank you Roget,) & found some other words that help to paint a clearer picture of what John is saying. They are: Heavy. Difficult. Oppressive. Taxing. Tiring. Tedious. Get the picture?
 
It reminds me of when Jesus confirmed what John says when Jesus called out to the masses & said, “Come to Me, all who labor & are heavy laden, & I will give you rest. Take My yoke (teachings) upon you & learn from me… & you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, & my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
 
If we’re finding it heavy, difficult, oppressive, taxing, tiring, tedious to keep God’s commands, what is it we’re missing?
 
I’m still working through this in my own head & heart, but I think what stands out to me is it is US that is making it difficult –  when asked what was most important for His followers to do, Jesus said simply, “Love the LORD God with all your heart, soul, mind, & strength. And love Your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).
 
To me, the motivation Jesus calls us to (& John reminds us of) is love. And when love is the motivation, His commandments are light, His teachings are easy. And we find it an exercise of joy to follow Him.
 

Grace, peace, & God’s blessings to you today -



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