Rite Of Passage

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.  For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:3-4

The first sentence of our focus text says a great deal. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” It’s part of God’s love being expressed in our lives that we be obedient to his law.

Usually when a person’s love is being revealed or demonstrated to another it’s the lover that does the acting and the receiver of the love is for the most part passive but when it comes to the revelation of the love of God in our lives we’re not passive. We too are active participants.

Perhaps the most important moments in the life of a maturing child are the “rite of passage moments”, those times when they’re told that they’re ready to perform certain tasks that are reserved for the grown ups. When the young person is told that today is the day they stand a little straighter, they hold their chests higher, and their faces beam with a serious and excited glow of joy.

In the past those times generally meant work, hard work. But the work wasn’t considered an inconvenience or a burden. Oh, no. In fact, even if the child was one that would normally do just about anything to avoid chores, or anything else that even slightly resembled work, that child would be so interested in performing the task that you could hardly get them to stop later. And their response was all due to the meaning of the appointed task. By doing this they were telling themselves, “I get to do this because I’m really a man now.” Or, “I get to do this because I’m really a woman now.” “I’m not a child anymore.”

Friends we’re not sinners anymore. We’re children of God. God in his love for us acknowledges the change that our rebirth has brought into our lives. God, in his love for us, entrusts us with the work of revealing his love to our spouses, our children, our friends, our neighbors, and even to our enemies.

God, in his love for us, does like the parents did when their child was ready to take another step an the road toward being a grown up. He gives us work that’s in keeping with our newly acquired maturity. One day we’ll be welcomed to live, and work, and love in the very presence of God. Then we’ll get to do things that we’ve never dreamed of doing before but today God’s love is revealed by our being given a privilege that’s something more terrestrial. We get to obey him and love one another.

And it’s not a burden. No, like the boy or girl being excited to take up the tools that mark him or her as an adult, or at least not a little kid, giving love away, for a child of God, is never a burden. Nothing ever is when we do it with Jesus.

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