Updated: Feb 22
February - the love month. Oh how we have the most amazing example of love in Christ. And while there are many passages on love, this one has come to me a few different times this month.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:9-17
What keeps us from abiding in the abundant love of the Father revealed to us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord?
I think the answer is often simple - self.
Jesus says the way to abide in His love is to keep His commandments. His commandment is to love others the way He loved us. He loved us by laying His life down for us. The way we love others is by laying down our lives for them.
One way we can do that is by denying the desires that lure our hearts into sin. James tells us that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1:14-15
What desire is keeping you from loving your spouse, children, neighbor, boss, friend, or fill in the blank, the way Christ loved you?
For me? It is often a desire for quiet, undisturbed thought, alone time and/or the desire to do what I want when or how I want to do it.
The enemy can be quite subtle and will disguise these desires as the means to joy. If I just had more quiet time, undisturbed thought, if I could just do things my way, then, I would be happy.
But, Jesus says that He gave us His commandments so His joy would be full in us. That means real joy comes from obedience and obedience is love. And, not self love, as our culture pushes on us, but His love. Love that exalts others over ourselves. Love that counts others as more significant than ourselves. Love that empties self. A love that chooses us when we would never choose it.
So, as the self exalting pleasures attempt to lure our hearts into sin, may we lean on the sweet power of the Holy Spirit to redirect our hearts to Jesus, our truest example of love. May that love lead to obedience. And, obedience to joy. And, may that joy fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts - delight in Him.