BECAUSE OF LOVE.
Though fifteen-year-old Shannon Miller won a silver medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, she returned home disappointed she had not won a single gold medal. Four years later, however, at the age of nineteen, Shannon captured two gold medals in Atlanta for her effort in the team gymnastics competition and for her performance on the balance beam.
A few days after her thrilling victory on the balance beam, she was asked by a television reporter how hard it had been to keep practicing and working in the years between the Olympics.
Shannon shrugged in response to the question and answered that she loved gymnastics. Because she loved it so much, she hadn't minded the toil of training for the Olympics. The work that might have seemed hard and unpleasant to someone else was not so hard for Shannon because of her love for the sport.
It's kind of the same with obeying God's commands. People who don't know God or his Son, Jesus, often look at the commands he has given to his people and think, Thou shalt not this! and Thou shalt not that! They may say, "There are too many 'thou shalt nots'! I don't see how you Christians can stand all the rules and stuff you have to obey. That's too hard for me." Or they may say, "I could never keep all those commands."
But such thoughts and statements show that they don't really understand how the Christian life works. Like Shannon Miller, who trained hard because of her love for gymnastics, Christians obey God's commands because of their love for God. God's commands are not burdensome to his children. Obeying him isn't torture. It's not even difficult for those who rely on the Holy Spirit's power because the Spirit does all the work-we just have to trust him moment by moment.
REFLECT: Compare the ways the following translations phrase 1 John 5:3:
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (KJV).
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome (NIV).
Loving God means keeping his commandments, and really, that isn't difficult (NLT).
How does your love for God make you more willing to obey him? How does your love for God make you more able to obey him?
PRAY: "Loving God, help me to show my love for you today by..."