How do you calculate the cost of something? I usually check the price, do some comparison shopping online, and try to figure out how long we’d have to save to afford it. More thoughtfully, the famous American philosopher Henry David Thoreau said: “I count the cost of a thing in terms of how much of life I have to give to obtain it.”
Jesus taught that to be His disciple involved giving up everything (Luke 14:25–33). True discipleship holds nothing back. To love God is to keep His commands (v. 3; cf. John 14:23). One cannot exist without the other.
John repeats this point from two different angles. First, if we claim to know God, but are habitually disobedient, our claim is false (v. 4). That person is a liar and walks in darkness. Second (by contrast), if a person is generally obedient, they do know God and have a close relationship with Him. Their love for God is “made complete” by their obedience, or in other words, obedience, walking in the light, is a result of God’s love at work within them (v. 5). As Jesus taught, a tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 7:17–20).
This is how “we know we are in him,” that is, Christ, and have assurance of salvation: Love and obedience go hand in hand. At times, we can overcomplicate the Christian life. James got straight to the point: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). John did the same here: “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (v. 6). As followers of Christ, we are to imitate Him, the perfectly “Righteous One.” We ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Then, we walk that way.
>> Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll do what He says. Are you following Jesus or headed in your own direction? Take time today to count both the cost and the rewards of walking in the light.
Lord, search our hearts and show us if there’s an area where we have not submitted to You. Are we making decisions based on Your priorities or our own? Do our lives reflect our Savior? Show us, so we can repent.