1 John 5:21…”Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” We were made in the image of our Creator to worship and love Him only. The idols which distract us and wither our spiritual lives in 2013 are not golden calves or bronze serpents. We are drawn away from pursuing the Lord by obsession with our iphones, talk radio, tv, news, social media, sports etc. However, the common trait of all humans throughout history is our foolishness in attempting to find contentment and pleasure in something other than God. These things cannot take the place of God, which is why they are not ultimately satisfying. Jesus warned that neglecting Him in our hearts and minds, and being focused on the things of this world have eternal consequences (Matthew 13).
1 John 5:3…”This is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” We were created to love God, but all of us have turned away (Romans 3:12). But God in His grace and mercy has provided a way for us to love Him in Christ. If we submit to Christ’s authority then God’s holy spirit will be in us and we’ll love His ways. Spiritual maturity brings with it a joy in obeying the truth in all of God’s word.
1 John 4:10..”This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” When we consider God’s patience, grace, and mercy in loving us it is humbling. God’s word tells us that we did not love Him first. Therefore, any hint of love we have for Him is from His transformational Spirit working in us. The only way we can have peace with Him is through repentance and faith in His Son, who on the cross bridged the massive chasm between a Holy Creator and sinful people.
1 John 4:5…”They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.” In context, John is referring to false teachers here. In our day, the prosperity gospel is very popular. However, it is false, and we should recognize it as Christians since it clearly has a “viewpoint of the world.” This life will be marked by trials and any preacher/teacher claiming otherwise should be carefully avoided if we want to grow in understanding and spiritual maturity. God is sovereign, and according to James 1 brings trials our way to make us mature and complete, so we would depend on Him and find contentment in Him increasingly.