I hope this word means more to you now than it did last Friday morning.
Before our time together this past weekend, that word may have filled you with dread, duty or disgust. But now I hope you see the life and beauty in that one single word.
As we begin this Obedience Challenge over the course of the next five days, I will be praying for you – for God to mold you and for the Holy Spirit to speak clearly and intentionally to your heart.
To start this challenge, I couldn’t think of a better place for us to launch than from scripture. This weekend, we discussed that God’s commands are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 states that blatantly,
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”
When was the last time you felt burdened by something? My guess is that some of you are currently struggling beneath the weight of some pretty burdensome issues right now. I once was in a season where a person in my life was counting my rights and wrongs toward them. It was awful. My well-intentioned actions were seen as fake and unappreciated. I ran around fretting about what to do to make this person happy. I plotted what I could say and what I could do to satisfy them. After several weeks of this, I ended up mentally and emotionally drained. I had offered up everything I could think to please this person and all my efforts were in vain. I was under the weight of expectation that left me striving toward an ever-moving finish line. It left me hopeless, exhausted and worn.
Ever been there? That is what a burden looks like.
This should not be how our relationship with Christ manifests itself.
Remember, obedience isn’t fulfilling a set of rules or doing something because the Bible tells us to. Obedience is a result. It’s a natural overflow of our love for Christ. If we’re walking in a relationship with Jesus that is bound up under his love and grace, we are free to enjoy obedience knowing that it’s the better way for our life.
Be encouraged when God says His ways are higher than our ways because that means his way is better. Could that way be harder? Absolutely. But without work, there is no reward. And ladies, we are running this race for a prize in which there is no comparison.
So this week, as we embark together on our Obedience Challenge, here’s the challenge for Day 1. We are going to memorize together 1 John 5:3. I want this verse to wash over you afresh every day this week. Delight in the fact that God’s commands aren’t burdensome, but instead are designed to allow you to walk in freedom and redemption.
Today, get a notecard, a scrap piece of paper – whatever you can find – and write this verse down. Tuck it into your pocket, place it on the dash of your car, tape it to your computer screen, whatever you need to do to see it everyday, multiple times during the day. Then, I want you to repeat it to yourself several times throughout the day. Pick something that you do a lot of all day – checking your e-mail, going to the bathroom or sipping your water – every time you do one of those activities, repeat 1 John 5:3.
This, my friends, is how we practice obedience to God’s command that says we should wholeheartedly commit ourselves to God’s word (see Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
This will be the foundation for the days ahead. Remember, God has designed a better way (not a burdensome way) for our lives and that better way is through obedience. Obedience is better!
Day 1 Obedience Challenge: Memorize 1 John 5:3