Everyone who loves the Father loves the Father’s children.
We know we love God’s children by loving God. (2a)
We know we love when we obey God’s commandments. (2b-3)
Our faith in Christ allows us to walk in victory. (4-5)
Loving God produces a mutually reinforcing cycle of transformation.
God’s commands are not burdensome when our whole person is being transformed.
Faith in Christ give us the power to walk in victory.
Measure your love for God by your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Grow in God’s love by obeying from the place of transformation.
Walk in the victory Christ has purchased.
When you think of loving God, do you think of that as separate from other relationships or as inseparably linked to your relationships with others? Looking back on your discipleship experience, was the focus more on you and God, or was it more on you, God and group? Deeper question: Is the “group first” orientation of scripture just a cultural artifact or is it normative today regardless of culture?
Have you ever experienced being loved because of your relationship to another? Have you ever had the opposite where you were hated because of your relationship to another? Would you be willing to share?
How do you react to the idea that your love for God is communicated and demonstrated by obedience to his commands? Is obedience inherently legalistic? Can you think of an incident in your formative experience where disobedience caused friction in a relationship? Can you recall an incident that you would be willing to share? How do we do the same thing to God? For parents, would you be impressed if your teenager told you that their love for you had no connection to their obedience? What would you say in response?
Why would God give us a greater capacity to abide in His love as we are a conduit of His love to others? How do you experience the love of God? Are their certain activities that help you to feel that more than others?
How hard is it to obey God? What role do our appetites and desires play in that calculation? Are appetites and desires determined by genetics? Do our choices influence our appetites? Are our desires static or dynamic over time? Is it that the ruts are set early, or is it a more fluid situation that significantly changes over time? Is it possible to grow our desire to obey?
How do you understand our victory in Christ? Is it more a present reality or a future hope? If it is a present reality, how do we explain all of our problems in this world? If Jesus has won and has defeated evil, why does it appear to be such a powerful force? If Christ has not experienced victory, then how can we proclaim that we are victorious, as John does in our passage?
What is your assessment of the reality of the spiritual world? How much or how little does it affect Christians today? If we are victorious, why are so many Christians walking in defeat? Do all areas of struggle disappear upon conversion? To what extent is this victory / transformation gradual?