For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3
John says that I express my love to God by keeping His commandments, which are not grievous or burdensome. If that’s true, then why do I find it so hard to keep God’s commandments? Simple answer: because I do not love God as I should. I love God enough for my salvation, yet not enough for everything else in my life and there are serious consequences for my lack of love for God. Many of these consequences we listed yesterday--selfishness, envy, greed, anger, addiction, loneliness, depression, stress, oppression, anxiety, spite, and pride.
The primary reason I don’t love God as I should is because I refuse to read and meditate on His Word. It’s similar to marrying my wife and then ignoring her for the rest of my life—it won’t work! I cannot ignore God. I cannot ignore His Word. I cannot neglect daily prayer on my knees before Him. I cannot ignore loving others. Once I decide to love God with my whole heart (that’s my willingness), then God will make His commandments “not grievous.” This is not about “doing” better but about “being” willing to follow God. That’s why Jesus says in Matthew 11, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus says LEARN OF HIM. Study Him. Jesus is the Word. Study and meditate on His Word. When you get to know Jesus intimately then His commandments are not burdensome—they are easy and light and then I can do right!
I struggle to keep God’s commandments because I approach them as the Pharisees did in Matthew 23:4, “For they [Pharisees] bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders.” God does not intend to lay His commandments on my shoulders to be carried as some burden, but rather He intends to write them on our hearts through His Word. So I can carry God’s commandments on my shoulders and fail over and over or let God write them on my heart and He will carry me through them. It’s my choice!
The results are spectacular and John shares it in verse 4 when he says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” This is when victory comes—when my will is completely given over to God! This is when all my struggles become light. This is when my anger subsides, my stress diminishes, my depression rests with God, and my spirit is humble. This is when my burdens are busted!