On spaghetti night, my mom would ask my two brothers and me to eat dinner shirtless. She instituted this policy after years of cleaning stains from our shirts. There were other expectations as well. We were required to be polite, to hold doors, to hand out crackers to the homeless, and to give school our very best shot, among other things. To be a part of our family meant following the family rules, and being obedient to what was asked of us. As a part of the family of God, we also have expectations.
- How does being a child of God influence your daily life?
READ THE WORD: 1 JOHN 5:1-4 (ESV)
5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- In your own words, describe how loving God and loving God’s children is a circular pattern.
- What does John say is required of those who love the Father?
- Verse 3 says his commandments are not burdensome. How is this true, or not true, in your life?
RESPOND TO GOD
Faith is personal. We have our own individual struggles and victories, and our own individual experiences with God. But we cannot overlook the immensely important idea that we are a part of a family of believers that extends across borders and cultures. And regardless of our differences, we have the same Father. He expects us to love all of his children, to follow his commandments, and to have faith that he is our ultimate victory.
- Ask God to empower you to love those in the body of Christ. Pray specifically for those who may come to mind.
- Pray that God’s love for you will overflow for God and God’s people.