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1 John 5:3: His Commandments Are Not Burdensome


1 John 5:3
[3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (ESV)

Commandments. That word sounds ominous, restrictive, even oppressive. Yet, John is now writing about the commandments of God and declares that they are not burdensome. This is quite different than what we would expect.  In fact, it was very different from what the Jews would have expected at that time. The Jews were led by the Pharisees. The Pharisees were religious leaders who added hundreds of restrictions on the people that were very burdensome.

Matthew 23:4
[4] They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. (ESV)

These were Jesus' words. He was talking directly about the Pharisees. Pharisees made commandments to keep the people under control. They were burdens too heavy to carry. And the Pharisees themselves did not lead by example. They were completely incapable and unwilling to help anyone keep the commandments that they demanded to be followed.

Contrast the Pharisees actions with those of our wonderful Lord. He calls us to love him and love our neighbor. Is he willing to do what he calls us to do? Yes! God sent His Son to this earth to live a life of love. Love for God and love for us. The love that he calls us to show by keeping the Father's commandments and loving others are the very things he did himself. He is a wonderful Savior.

We are able to keep God's commandments as he enables and empowers us. He has given us His Holy Spirit to help us in our task. We discover that it is a joy to do what he calls us to do because we are motivated by love. We do not have a God who is unable to sympathize with any difficulties in keeping his commands, rather we have one who kept them for us in the life of Jesus Christ.

What is God calling you to do? Obey him with a glad heart. He loves you and will help you to do whatever it is he calls you to. 

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