1 John 5 v 1 - 5

As believers, we are in a unique place: we become overcomers through our position as children in the family of God. John views love of God and love of others as inseparable parts of the same experience. Jesus had said the same when, in answer to the scribe's question, He had stated that these were the greatest commandments: ''Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength'' and ''Love your neighbour as yourself''. Many people with whom I meet, struggle to love themselves and that impairs their ability to love others. It is as we recognise and experience God's love for ourselves that we learn to love others. The love of God is not to be a dead sea experience- freshwater flows in, but nothing comes out- it is to be like the River Jordan, vibrant and full of life, because water flows in from Mount Hermon and out into the sea. We must remind ourselves that God's love is universal, for the whole of humankind; but it is also specifically for you and for me. Psalm 139 is written in poetic form by a man who experienced that God's love was specifically for him and from before birth. John emphasises that the only real prove of love is in obedience. We cannot prove our love for anyone other than by seeking to please and bring joy to that person. John goes on to say that God's commands are not heavy. That doesn't mean to say that His commands are easy to achieve. Those two commands we have mentioned take a lifetime and more to obey. Just when we think we are loving God and those in the Family of God, we are challenged by somebody or a situation where we find it impossible to love. I can recall someone I struggled to love. He had been quite a support to me as a teenager, but when I became involved in leadership situations, he really frustrated me! It was getting more and more difficult for me to be civil to him and eventually I thought I should begin praying for him, not just the situation. I began praying daily and I grew to understand what made him do the things which annoyed me. I'm sure that, if you are married, there are times when you become frustrated with your spouse, but because you love her or him that enables you to move forward peaceably.

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