Today’s Scripture Selection: First John 5:3

“This is love for God: to obey His commands.  And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”

Keeping the Commandments – it can be a tall order.

Much of the Bible is the story of how people have tried; failed; tried again – and so on.  And even those who have been able to keep some of the Commandments – ultimately admit – as Paul put it: they have “fallen short” of the glory of God.

That’s why we need that thing Christians sing about when they sing “Amazing Grace.”  Because none of us are perfect; none of us keep God’s Commandments perfectly.

On the other hand, we are to try our best to keep them.  Of that, I am sure.

So why does John say “His commands are not burdensome”?

I think it is because for John, keeping God’s commands – or at least trying to do so – is so tied up with loving God and being loved by Him.

It’s about the relationship between God as Heavenly Father, and us, his earthly – but heaven bound – children.

Loving God and doing what God says are intimately; completely related to one another.

So, difficult or not, we try our best.

We pray.  We listen.  We ask for guidance.  We ask for second or third chances.  We ask for as many chances as we need.  We ask for forgiveness.  We ask for grace.

And we try, again and again, to keep God’s commands.

We won’t succeed perfectly.  But somehow, I think God knows that already.

Like any loving parent feels about his or her kids – it’s enough that we try.

Prayer: Lord, help me to express my love for you by doing what you say I should do.  And forgive me when I don’t.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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