It all comes back to love
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:9-12 NIV
My grandchildren and I play the game of, “I love you more than…” and they fill in the blank with things they love. Once as 8-year old Judah left our home, he turned and said, “Grandma, I love you more than chocolate and all the treats in the world”
Whoa! Now that’s a lot of love—the kind of love I could really understand.
As a young girl, the only love I received from my father was a few holiday cards sent throughout the year. He lived across the Pacific Ocean—much too far for me to have any tangible relationship with him, so a signed greeting card, “Love Dad,” had to suffice. But those were just merely words on paper that held no meaning to a young child. Many of us today can see the Bible the same way.
Sometimes we read God’s Word through the blurred lenses of loss or insecurity and unfulfilled expectations and the words in our Bibles become a reading requirement. They’re merely words and not the living love letter it was intended to be. Sadly, there are many in the body of Christ who sit on the outer banks of God’s love, feeling like an outsider or spectator at best, because we’ve lived our lives deficient of a father’s love, and thereby sell ourselves short in the love department.
Here we see Jesus is absolutely, positively confident in the love of his Father, and thereby could state with the utmost surety, that as my Father has loved me, so have I loved you. But He doesn’t leave it there, he goes on to say, “love each other as I have loved you.”
That is a great responsibility, one which begs the question: how does He love us? And how can I love others as He has commanded me? You can love people and not love God, but you cannot love God and not love people!
Looking at all of John 15, the word "remain" is mentioned 11 times in the first 10 verses. As we remain in Him, He will remain in us, and the evidence will be a bountiful harvest of love. Ask yourself, are there any deficiencies in my life that hinder the flow of God’s love for me? If fruitfulness is the result of a life-giving connection to the vine, am I plugged in?
Will you commit to loving others as Christ has loved you? What does that look like? Perhaps grab a journal or have a close friend keep you accountable.
Holy Spirit, I ask that you would provide healing to those who are hurting and don’t feel like they are loved. Maybe they’ve been abandoned or rejected and the enemy has had a play day with their emotions. I ask, Lord, that you would remove every hindrance and pour out the extravagance of your love upon each person reading this today, including myself. May we walk in the same confidence that Jesus had, and bask in the love of the Father. In Jesus name, amen.