Trusting and Obeying

1 John 3:19-24 (NIV)
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
When I was a youngster, I remember that one of my father’s favorite hymns was “Trust and Obey.”  This is what John is telling followers of Jesus to do in verses 23-24 of chapter 3.  Trust Jesus for salvation by believing in Him and obey God’s command by loving people.  God’s Spirit dwells in the heart of the born-again believer.  When one accepts God’s offer of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus expressed by believing, repentance, confession and baptism, God’s Spirit fills you (Acts 2:38).  God’s very Spirit lives in you and begins to transform you.  We have nothing to fear and can stand before God in full confidence knowing that He lives in us.  The indwelling Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness and truth.  The Holy Spirit helps us in our moments of weakness when it comes to fear, sin and doubt.  The Holy Spirit of God helps us to obey the commands of Christ.
What are the commands of Christ?  Love God and love people.  Why do we need the Spirit’s help?  Because love does not come naturally to us.  We look at the world around us and we see violence and hatred everywhere.  Where is the love?  Why don’t people love one another?  It is because they do not have the love of God within them?  Knowing the unconditional love of God motivates us to love others.  We can stand before God in the full assurance of His unfailing love.  We don’t have to be terrified of God.  He is for us and not against us.  His love frees us up to trust Him and obey Him.  We do not obey out of obligation or fear, but rather out of love.  We want to please Him because we are in a loving relationship with Him.  This is our motivation for obedience.  
PRAYER: Father, help me to trust You and obey Your commands today.  I want opportunities to love You and love people more.  Show me those who need Your love today that I might be like Jesus to them.  Thank You for Your unfailing love.  Amen.

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