Love God and do as You Please

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”  1 John 5:3

Really, John? Isn’t that laws and rules and restrictions? But what comes next?

“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. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  1 John 5:3-5

That makes more sense. So, we love God by keeping His commandments, but we keep His commandments through faith in Jesus, not through our own strength. Ok, Jesus has made it possible, but isn’t it still stifling?

Well, no.

If I really love someone, serving them never feels confining. If I really love someone, I want their happiness more than I want mine. If I really love someone, their desires become mine. If I really love someone, I want what they want. If I really love God, I can do whatever I want because I want what God wants!

Woah.

Love God and do as you please!

Seriously?

“Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:3-4

If you really love God, His desires are your desires. If you really love God, your steps are His steps. If you really love God, He will give you the desires of your heart because they are the desires of His heart.

Try to wrap your mind around that. I can’t.

God freely gives His grace to His children. Grace doesn’t just not condemn us, it bestows God’s unmerited favor upon us. Sometimes, I get caught up in the fact that I am saved from my sins – and I am. But, that’s not all. I am also receiving God’s glorious, unmerited favor. I am favored of God!

Double-woah. (Yes, that is a technical term.)

I get to live in God’s favor everyday! And so do you! If you believe Jesus took the punishment for your sins and gave you His righteousness, you have received God’s grace! Not just his mercy from punishment, but Jesus’ perfect righteousness and God’s unmerited favor! Love Him, and you will keep His commandments and receive the desires of your heart.

Let’s be encouraged in God’s favor! Let’s celebrate today! Let’s live worthy of the calling God has given us (Ephesians 4:1)! We don’t get to believe the implications of the gospel and not be optimistic! 

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Photo by Rachel Hollis, © RLA Designs

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The Only Translation?

You may be the only translation of the Bible someone ever reads. Christians are the Body of Christ in the world, we are a translation of the Good News, but is our translation beautiful and true, or sloppy and misleading? The testimony of our lives is the first thing the people around us see.

Paul put it this way, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3

It is more effective to share the Good News with our lives than with our words. Without first seeing a life that speaks the Gospel, people will not have open ears to hear words of hope and life. We must live the Gospel.

Peter tells us how this works: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-9

Did you notice what Peter did there? He started with the righteousness we have been granted by God. We must always start there. We can never live lives that speak the Gospel on our own. We make a mess of things, but through God’s divine power, He has granted us everything we need for life and godliness. Once we know this, we can live the Gospel through God’s power instead of our own. That is the only way we will succeed.

The blood of Jesus gives us righteousness by faith and Christ lives in us to let others see the Gospel. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

So go out into the world. Be a true translation of the Bible. Overcome and be fruitful in God’s power and Christ’s life.

sunsetPhoto by Dillon Adams