Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:1-5 [NLT]
Where is true home for you? To where do you return at the end of the day, or in a time of retreat, or at the end of your career? I remember a two-story white frame farmhouse in Bollinger County, Missouri. It was the home of my maternal grandmother, and as such it was a place of great comfort, wonderful memories, and security. Whether it is the memory of watching Gun Smoke with my Granddad Dodson, walking down to Crooked Creak, or visiting the spring house only to discover a snake, the memories return easily. Although I know I’ll never return there, there is a sentimental soft spot in my heart for that place. I would love to spend some time just sitting on the second story front porch, and watch the cars go by.
True home for the believer is faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We believe that the God of glory and creation took on human flesh and dwelt among us, and suffered and died to save us is central to all we hope for. That Jesus is not just another religious man, a prophet, or teacher of kindness – though he was all that and more – is essential to our faith. That this Jesus has come to save us, and after dying, rose from the dead is an anchor for our souls.
Because we believe this, we embrace his commandments. We’ll never do that perfectly. But we can do it faithfully. We can love our neighbor because we have been born of God – made new in Christ – and as such deeply aware that our highest calling is to love others for whom Jesus died. As we obey Jesus’ commandments we find them delightful, even though sometimes challenging. But in the end, our truest self – the part of us who has been born of God – does not find obeying God’s commandments burdensome. This is not something we must carry around like a giant weight on our souls. But it is a compelling desire to honor the God who has saved us, and who has brought us into his kingdom of grace.
Our faith in Jesus, the Son of God sustains us. Our true home is faith in Jesus, and we who believe in Jesus desire to honor him in every aspect of our lives, and rejoice in his faithfulness and mercy to us when we fail.