Month: March 2018

God’s Commands Are Not Burdensome Because You Are A Conqueror

If the pressure of the world is mounting, remember that if you are in Christ, you are staring at a defeated foe. You are no longer under the control of the world’s ways. Don’t give up!

3For this is what love for God is: to keep his commands. And his commands are not a burden,  4because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:3–4, CSB)

God’s commandments are not burdensome, contrary to what some might think. God’s commands not being burdensome is connected to the fact that those who have been born again have overcome the world. Do you see the first word of v.4— “because”?

Think about how the world impacts us. When the bible talks about the world in the figurative sense, it is talking about the ways associated with a sinful fallen world.

24The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient,  25instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24–26, CSB)

Do you realize that we are born into sin, and therefore, are slaves to the will of Satan?  We are in bondage to sin. If you think God’s commands are burdensome, then you don’t understand the futility of the world’s ways.

It’s burdensome to pursue greed; lust; anger; wealth in order to find satisfaction because they will never bring lasting, eternal fulfillment.

Yet, while being in bondage to sin and burdened by the world’s ways, some ironically look at the way of freedom that Christ offers as being burdensome!

Here’s what John says: His commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. The burden has been released by Christ! His ways free us from the world’s futile ways and lead us into the way of righteousness. We have overcome the world, so the way of freedom is not a burden!

In fact, our slavery has been flipped around in a sense:

17 But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over,  18 and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. 19 I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification. (Romans 6:17-19, CSB)

Photo by nour c on Unsplash

Five To Focus 24. Is It Wrong To Euthanize My Pet?

One of the joys of pastoral ministry is walking through different life situations with people and helping them look to Scripture for guidance. Here’s an example of one of those situations.


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You Don’t Need Scripture & Your Fleeces To Trust God

What’s the deal with Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:36-40? This passage is one of those strange ones in the Old Testament that makes you wonder how we are to apply it to our lives. Here’s the summary:

Midian and other pagan nations gather together, cross the Jordan River, and camp at the Jezreel Valley. The battle is set between this pagan nation and God’s people, Israel. The Spirit of the Lord is empowering Gideon and God’s people gather when Gideon sounds the trumpet and sends messengers to bring them in. This is going to be a big battle!

You would think that Gideon would be fully confident because God already told him that He would save Israel through Gideon. But instead, Gideon asks for another sign (God has already been gracious to give some) that God would do what He said He would do. He asks him twice to perform a sign with a fleece he lays down. First, to put all of the dew on the fleece and not on the ground around it. Second, all the dew on the ground but not on the fleece.

Gideon is testing God.  And that was a sin. “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah” (Deuteronomy 6:16, ESV). Gideon must have known this because he asks the Lord in verse 39 to not be angry with him! In fact, there is only one time the Lord says it’s okay to test him, and that is with bringing in the tithe and seeing God’s blessing (Malachi 3:10).

This passage is an example of a descriptive passage (explaining what happened, not necessarily endorsing it), not a prescriptive passage (command). We know it is a descriptive passage because Gideon is committing a sin and he even knows it.

Some people ask the Lord for a supernatural sign of some kind before stepping out in faith. But He has already given us His Word! The whole time someone might be asking for a sign, the Lord has already given guidance for the right things that are to be done. Some believe that there will be a new revelation from God, something outside of his already-complete Scripture (the 66 books of the Bible), and they cherish that false idea more than the truth that God has already given to them.   

Just because Gideon put out a fleece and God answered his request to make it wet and the ground dry does not mean that this is how God speaks to everyone. Don’t think that you need the Bible and your fleeces (or just your fleeces) to hear God speak. God was gracious to Gideon–his was a very specific situation of a timid servant needing some reassurance.

Let’s put our trust in the Lord and His Word and not in signs.

Photo by Hisu lee on Unsplash

Five To Focus 23. Strength and Equipping For Every

We talked about the four roles of Scripture in your life in the last four episodes. Now focus on what should happen next when you allow Scripture to take its place in your life.  

Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 3:17


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