Scripture Reading: Daniel 11:36-12:13 / 1 John 5:1-21 / Psalm 139:1-10
Gilbert Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” The world believes the ways of God are too hard to follow or keep so they reject Christianity. John gives a different perspective to the commands of God, “This is love for God; to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” (1 John 1:3)
The world considers God’s commandments to be heavy, weighty, severe, stern and cruel. The ways of the Lord do not appeal to our fallen nature so naturally they will not satisfy our lustful drive for sin. Like oil and water; sin and God’s ways do not mix. Sinful man cannot keep God’s commandments because they are beyond their natural capabilities.
God’s commands are not difficult for those who love Him. We are not motivated by selfishness or sin but by love for Him and a desire to please Him. God gives us the supernatural ability to embrace His ways with joy and obedience. He fills our hearts with hope and empowers us by His Spirit to remain true to Him.
Keeping God’s Word is not necessarily easy or effortless. John uses warfare terminology to identify obedience as a battle, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (vs.4) As believers, we battle the world, our own flesh and the devil. Our power is not found in ourselves but “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (4:4)
God has placed within us a new nature that has a desire and power to obey Him. We overcome because, “everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (vs.4) The power does not reside in our natural man but is found in our spiritual man. He makes us temples of His Holy Spirit. His victorious power allows us to be victorious over the world.
God’s law and ways, apart from the grace of Christ, are impossible to bear. Jesus gently supports us and bears the brunt of the weight, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) God always equips us and gives us the strength to do what He asks us to do. God’s ways are not designed to rob us of joy but to spare us from destruction, discouragement and defeat. His commandments are to free us, not restrict us.
When we see God as our loving Heavenly Father, we will see His commands in a whole new light. They will not be burdensome because He bears the load, enables us to overcome and does all things for our good. We will find pleasure by pleasing Him, joy in obeying Him and power in serving Him!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!