Some days it seems like you just can’t win! I think everyone has had days like that, they start badly and then just get worse. What we need is a way to start the day that will empower us for anything the world has to throw at us. John, one of the first followers of Jesus, gives us just that empowering.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:1-5 (The NIV translation)

Loving God means loving Jesus too! As we love God’s Son this creates a loving bond between us and God equal to the love the Father has for his Son. It isn’t a soft kind of love though, not a fluffy candy floss sickly sweet kind of  love. God’s love for us wants us to follow in the path of life that Jesus shows us in his life. It gives us the greatest opportunity for intimacy of relationship with our loving heavenly Father God, but stretches us to the fullest capacity of our human potential. We don’t get one without the other because our God is holy and perfect in love, there are no half measures with him to get fulness of life. Grace leads the way into his presence but a disciplined life that cherishes the goodness of God’s commands builds us up in the life God has for us.

How do we achieve this balance of grace and goodness? It is quite a simple formula really. As John says, we are to believe in Jesus, love the Father and the Son, and obey the commands of the Father. Rather than seeing the commandments of God as hinderance to our humanity, and our community, we are to see them as empowerment for the fullest of life that God has for us. If we live in the love of the Father then, John says, we have already overcome the world. Things may not be great every day and situations we face may not work out how we hope or imagine, but in the love of God we are empowered by grace and goodness to face the world with confidence of faith and the smile of a heart filled with the assurance of God’s love for us.

Loving Father, thank you for the love that you lavish freely into our lives. Let your grace fill us this day with the knowledge of your love. Let our hearts respond with the desire to grow to the fullness of humanity for which you created us. Let us follow faithfully in Jesus’ way and grow closer to you each day. Amen.