Session 1

Don’t follow the rules

From 1 John: A 7-Day Devotional


1 John 5

Our world has perfected the art of performance-based love. It is exhausting to feel like you’re only as valuable as you are expendable.

The good news is that our performance does not determine Jesus’ love for us.

It can be difficult to wrap our minds around how Jesus loves. We easily fall into the habit of performance, viewing Jesus’ commands as simply rules to follow instead of a means to intimacy with Him. But 1 John 5:3 says it is out of love for Jesus that we obey His rules — not the other way around.

God’s commands have not been put in place to oppress us, but to free us. God’s plan for our lives is the best plan for our lives. So when we give God ultimate control, it gives us ultimate joy.

If we measure our value on how well we’re following the rules, we make our faith about us instead of Jesus’ death on the cross. Obedience is not about how we perform, but how we respond. We say yes to God because we love Him, not out of obligation to Him or because we want something from Him.

We show our love for Jesus by listening to Him and doing what He says. Don’t follow the rules — follow Jesus.


  • Have you ever thought that God valued your performance over your position as His child? Did that mindset make you feel free or burdened?
  • Think about the most joyful times in your walk with Jesus. Were they a result of obedience?
  • What is one step you can take today to follow Jesus rather than a list of performance based rules?

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