The absolute, most important single act of the children of God is making space to encounter our heavenly Father in the secret place. Abiding in God is the foundation on which every other aspect of the Christian life finds success. It establishes roots which enable us to receive all that we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It guides us to constant refreshment and revival in God’s presence, thereby supplying and sustaining the abundant life God intends for us. My prayer is that you would be marked by wonderful, satisfying, and fulfilling encounters with the presence of God as we look at John 15:1-17 this week. Make room in your heart and mind to rest in the love of your heavenly Father as we look at the different ways we are to abide in the true vine of God.
The concept of obedience has become shrouded with a connotation of negativity. When we think of obedience we normally infer a feeling of doing a task apart from a desire or longing. We associate obedience with obligation rather than fulfillment. But when Jesus walked on the earth he carried out a very different lifestyle of obedience. Jesus’ life demonstrates what obedience to our heavenly Father is meant to look like. Obedience to God is choosing to live a lifestyle of love and devotion to our God who has loved us completely.
Jesus says in John 15:9-10, “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.” Too often we miss the heart of God when he calls us to obedience. Jesus illustrates here that he lived his life reciprocating the love he was shown by his Father. He lived his life in obedience to God out of the wealth of relationship he had, not out of obligation. And Jesus simply asks us to do the same. He invites us into the process of receiving and giving love as the foundation of our life that we might abide in the depth of relationship with our heavenly Father as he did.
In Luke 10:27, Jesus states the greatest commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” How incredible is the heart of our God that he doesn’t call us to a lifestyle of obligation or undesired sacrifice, but a lifestyle in which we reciprocate the vast love we’ve been shown in Christ to all the earth. God doesn’t merely set rules before you but relationship as the goal. He’s after your heart totally and completely.
In a world wrapped up in a self-seeking, self-satisfying agenda, God sets us free to step outside of the burden of ourselves and frees us to live for others. In a world wrought with the weight of pride, God pours out his unceasing, selfless love which has the power to transform us into children who abide in our heavenly Father. If we will choose to abide in God’s commandments and love wholeheartedly, we will experience a satisfaction unknown to those with the attitude of selfishness and pride. We will experience the abundant life only those who abide in God can obtain.
So, abide in God’s commandments today. Choose to live a lifestyle of wholehearted love of God and others. Choose to live in obedience to God in response to his amazing love. And discover the power, purpose, and freedom that comes from ministering to others with the very love you’ve been shown in Christ.
1. Meditate on God’s commandment for us to love him and one another. Receive the call to a lifestyle of love as you reflect on God’s word.
“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.” John 15:9-10
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
2. Spend time receiving the love of your heavenly Father. God always desires to fill you up with the knowledge of his love before he would have you love him or others in return. Our obedience is always meant to be a response to his loving nature. So take time and receive a fresh outpouring of the love he has for you today.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
3. Ask the Spirit to guide you to a lifestyle of love today. Spend time allowing him to reveal different ways in which he would call you to love others. How can you love your spouse better today? How can you love your best friend, coworker, neighbor, etc.? Ask the Spirit to pour out the love of God through you today. And commit to loving others even when it goes against the tides of comfort and culture.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
May we abide in the love of our heavenly Father today. May we choose to live a lifestyle of love. And may our prayer be like that of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:32-35 as we go about our days living to see God’s glory come on earth as it is in heaven:
Extended Reading: 1 John 4