Prayer for the day
Know this: The LORD himself is God; he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Scripture for the day
It’s repeated more often than we care to think about. God is constantly calling the people of Israel, and the rest of the people of God, to obey his commands.
In 1 John, the act of obedience is equal to the act of love. For John, to love God means to obey the commands of God. We often equate love with a feeling, or with an intense desire. John, however, leaves feelings out of the picture, and says instead that love looks less like a certain feeling and more like an action, more like a lifestyle. For John, love means acting it out in obedience.
For most of us, obedience is an option. It’s an extension of loving God, not the actual loving itself. But John doesn’t allow us the wiggle room we’re looking for, or the space we want to get out. We’re stuck. In love.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced the problem of love as action when they were called to worship the huge statue of Nebuchadnezzar. Their love and devotion was due to God, but they were asked to put that love aside, to do something that violated the command of God, in order to live.
Instead of betrayal, which would have been an act of hatred, they chose instead to act in love. They loved their God. Even to the point of death.
And because that love took the form of obedience, because they loved enough to obey fully, even when confronted with doom, they were saved. God plucked them from certain death because God loved them, and because they had chosen the way of love rather than the way of hatred or compromise.
May you choose so wisely.