If you can get past John’s mental gymnastics, you’ll find a pretty simple concept in 1 John 5:1-5: The love of God and the love of others is so entwined that you cannot have one without the other. To get a little more complex in my explanation (as does John to a further degree), as the Believers, we love God. If we love God, we must keep His commandments. His commandment is to love Him and love others. To love others is necessarily to demonstrate love for God, which necessarily demonstrates we’re Believers. See the circle? I think God intended for that kind of circular reasoning so that we could not let ourselves out through a loophole (no pun intended) of loving others.
He tells us that this is not a burdensome task for those who are His because, through faith, He does the loving through us. In spite of the fact that this is still difficult, at times, to love those who are tougher to love, we can be over-comers because He has overcome.
Even this morning, I have been dwelling (more than necessary) on an individual who is challenging to me. I get annoyed rather quickly and find the word “obnoxious” pop to mind when I think about them. What do I do with that? I suppose there are many ways of handling it, some better than others, but for me I have to consciously put that aside. I have to remember how obnoxious I can be, how imperfect I am, and try to have the same grace I want to be shown by others who may have similar feelings towards me. How do you handle similar situations? What is the way that brings the most honor to Christ?
On another quick note, John makes an important doctrinal statement in verse 1 that we don’t need to miss:
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.
Look at how he phrases that: Everyone who believes (present tense)…has been born (past tense). We sometimes think that our believing brings on the regeneration of our spirit. What John says here is that our believing is evidence of our having been regenerated, which demonstrates how salvation is a work of God alone doing in us (who are dead in our trespasses) what we cannot do ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 15:16, John 6:60-66, 1 John 2:29, 3:9, 4:7, 19). This is great news since He took the initiative to rescue us from our path of destruction (having been born in sin) and made us new, giving us the ability (faith, again see Eph 2:8-9) to trust Him, and the obedience to place that faith in Him (what we refer to as asking Him to be Lord of our lives) and live according to the commandment He has given us.