I wrote the other day about faith being like a two-sided coin. Today’s topic is similar. It’s on John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love.” Maybe it’s because I had a father who was not a nice man, or maybe it’s simply because I’m a male, but the idea that Jesus loves me is one that I need to remind myself of. It doesn’t seem to come naturally.
That’s a problem because it’s easy to forget that fact. It’s easier for me to think of Jesus as by boss, as in employer, one that I must obey and work hard to please. You know, as in someone I depend on for my paycheck and hopefully better paychecks to come. While there is biblical evidence that there are varying degrees of punishment in hell (Luke 10:14), I’m not sure sure about the different heavenly crowns. Are there better paychecks in heaven? Or will we cast them as Revelation 4:9-11 would suggest?
I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that in John 15:9, which I studied last night, it is plain to me that Jesus loves me. Not just a little bit, but just as our Father has loved him. He also commands us to aide in his love. Let’s look at that a bit.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11
Somehow abiding in Jesus’ love has to do with keeping his commandments. That sounds a lot like an employment relationship, but I think that is completely missing the point. We see that in Hosea 6:6, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” So, yes, what I do matters, but my attitude is really the thing that matters most.
Walking in Love
As I said, this love thing doesn’t seem to be natural to me. Of course, I love those I love, and my love certainly is different since I have been saved, but would others say that love is one of my top traits? I don’t know. Maybe I should ask people. That thought is actually kinda scary, to be honest with you. This tells me that I could use some work.
That also means that a considerable amount of my efforts to become a mature Christian have been in vain.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
What does love look like? Let’s read on.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Certainly, I have some work to do.
Jesus’ Love is Unconditional
But, let’s not forget something. Jesus loves me whether or not I do a good job at this love business. How much does he love me? As the Father loves him. That’s infinite, my friend. Whether I comprehend this or not doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I even bother thinking about it. If I am saved, which I am sure of, then Jesus loves me as much as he possibly can. His love isn’t conditional.
Then what does it mean when he says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”? Let’s look at that word. Abide means to “accept or act in accordance with.” I don’t think this means conditional, although I do believe that’s what was what was going on in my subconscious mind. I was trying to earn Jesus’ love. Abiding means accepting his love.
Accepting his love has nothing to do with that fact that he loves me unconditionally. Not accepting that – or not acting like he does – is my loss. He still loves me, unconditionally and without limits.
What do I have to gain from abiding in his love? More than I can imagine. Let’s start with John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
I don’t know about you, but joy sounds pretty good right now!
Father, let not these words disappear from my spirit when I hit the “send” button. I pray that any resistance or hesitation or even sin be cast aside so that I may immerse myself in your love today. Let it be noticeable to all I meet. Amen.
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers