“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.”
Over the last couple of days we’ve been learning more about what it means to abide in Christ, obey Christ, and love Christ. Today we will see that there is a proper order to love that not only calls us to love but gives us the passion, resources, and ability to do so.
And this order exists first and foremost within the Godhead itself, as the Father first loves the Son and the Son then reflects that love back to the Father in the form of heart-felt, passionate, willing obedience. When the Son receives love from the Father, he receives all the passion, resources, and ability he needs to love the Father in return. When the Father sees the obedience of the Son, he sees love, and he rejoices not only in the Son’s love for him but also in his own love that is working in and reflecting back from the Son.
This same dynamic then plays out between the Son and the children of God. First, the Son pours his love out on the children of God and then they reflect that love back to him through heart-felt, passionate, willing obedience. When the children of God receive the love of the Son, they receive all the passion, resources, and ability they need to love him in return. When the Son sees the obedience of the children of God, he sees love, and he rejoices not only in their love for him but also in his own love that is working in and reflecting back from them. Thus, the proper order of love is this: the Son loves because the Father first loved him, and “we love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
So, the key idea we should grasp today is this: without him we can do nothing, and therefore all the passion, resources, and ability we need to love him in fact comes from him. Our love is a reflected love and its source is God the Father, mediated through the Son. We must indeed obey his commandments and labor to love him with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength, but we can only do so in the strength that God supplies. Therefore, in the end, since he is the fount of our love, he gets the glory for our love.
Prayer Focus: Pray that the Father will teach us to endeavor to love him, not from our strength, but from the strength that he supplies. Pray that he will teach us to lean on him as our all-sufficient fount, and then give him the glory that is due his name.