Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day Twenty-One - To Abide in Christ is to Love Christ

“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

This is now the seventh time Jesus has used the word “abide” in our passage, but it is the first time he has linked it with love (v 9). Previously we learned that the only way we can abide in Christ is if he causes us to abide in him: “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” (15:16). However, we also learned that Christ has given us a part to play in his abiding in us, namely, that we should allow his words to abide in us and teach us and shape us and direct us and discipline us and encourage us and so on (v 7). Now, in verse 9, Jesus adds the element of love to the mix, and here’s why. 

For Jesus to cause his words to abide in us is for him to give his commandments to us. In other words, the reason Jesus gives his words to us is to teach us about and guide us in the way we should go. This is why he says in verse 10 that to abide in his love is to obey his commandments. How else shall we show our love for Christ? To obey the commandments of Jesus is to love Jesus, and therefore his call to abide in his love is tantamount to a call to obey him in love.

And this is not a new commandment, but one which we have had from the beginning. “The most important [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’” (Mark 12:29-30). Indeed, to abide in Christ is to love Christ, and to love Christ is to obey his commandments, and we have his commandments because his words abide in us. 

Prayer Focus: Pray that the Lord will help us to understand the connection between love and obedience, and that he will give us a heart to understand his words and walk in his ways. Pray that he will give us power to walk in the ways he shows us for the glory of his name and the joy of our souls. 

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