My goodness, how is it the last day of February already?!?!
To me, the first part this passage speaks about putting things in the right order.
#1 - believe that Jesus is the Christ and be born of God
#2 - love the Father
#3 - love the other children by loving and obeying God
Then it says that the victory that has overcome the world is our faith. It's like a circle. Love God. Obey God. Love each other. Grow in faith. Love God. Obey God. Love each other. Grow in faith. We all know that our attitudes feed our actions and our actions feed our attitudes. For example, the less you do, the less you feel like doing. And the less you feel like doing, the less you do. It spirals downwards. Or, doing things and getting things done provides a sense of accomplishment and makes you want to keep going and get more stuff done. When you read your Bible and pray regularly, it gives you a desire to read more, learn more, be in companionship with God more.
The more we love God, the more willing we are to obey Him. The more we obey Him, the more we love Him, and the more we love Him, the better we can love others.
From Mark Driscoll's sermon:
God is not an idea. He’s a person. He’s not a syllogism. He’s alive, and we come to him with our mind. We need to know whom we’re loving, but we come to him with our heart. We have to be passionate about loving him, and if we do, that’s the most loving thing that we can give to others. It goes on. How do we know we are loving the children of God? By loving God. First things first, then we will carry out his commands, and this is love for God to obey his commands. Here, John is again just echoing the Lord Jesus. He said, “If you love me, then you’ll obey me.” Some of you hear the word “obey.” You go, “Obey, I don’t like that word. I’m an indie rocker. I live in Seattle. I don’t like the word ‘obey.’ That’s a terrible word. That’s why I ran away from home and learned how to play guitar. I hate that word.”
Okay, obey is a great word providing you have the right Father. It all depends on who your Dad is as to whether or not obeying him is a duty or a delight. If you have a problem obeying God, you really have a problem knowing God. If you knew him, you would obey him. Here’s the truth. God saves us from ourselves, friends. Genesis 3, tree of life, tree of death. We choose death. Every day since, we have chosen death. We are a suicidal people. We just slaughter ourselves. We kill ourselves, and God says, “I will save you. I will love you. I will change you.” It is only a fool who looks at God and says, “No, I will do it my own way. I won’t obey you,” because God is the God of love, and God is the God of life, and if you would disobey the loving God of life, you would live in death apart from love falling, falling.
Some people say, “I love God. I just don’t listen to him.” You can’t. I always do this with my kids. I tell you this all the time, but when my kids are disobeying me, I look them right in the eye, and I say, “Do you love the Lord?” “Yes.” “Do you love your Daddy?” “Yes.” “Then, what are you gonna do because the issue is not cleaning your room. The issue is not whacking your brother. The issue is not swimming in the toilet. Those are all effects. The issue is am I going to live out of love for God or not,” and too many people are chasing, “I have an alcohol problem. I have a lust problem. I have a perversion problem. I have a sexual problem. I have a depression. I have all these problems.”
Guess what? Those are all effects. There’s one cause. You don’t know who God is. Friends, if you can study one thing for your whole life, find out who the God of the Bible is. If you know who God is, you will love him, and you will trust him, and you will obey him, and the sin in your life will go away because you will want to follow him, and you will trust him over that seed of rebellion from Adam that’s in you that wants you to think that you’re smarter than you are, getting you to choose death all the time and neglecting the loving God of life. You will obey God if you love him. You can’t love God unless you know him. If you don’t know him, you can’t love him, and you can’t obey him, and obedience is not your problem. Love of the one true God is always at the root of every sin and problem, that there are times when we love our sin and we love our flesh more than we love the Lord, and that’s what leads us into trouble.
Have a great day!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: 1 John 5:6-8