Do You Love Him Today?
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:9-12 )
I knew a guy in college who had a rather interesting way of greeting people. Instead of the normal, "Hi, how are you?" he would smile and ask, "Do you love Him today? Do you love Jesus?" Being young men, we tended to poke fun at this guy, but deep down I knew he was right. If you want to know how someone is doing on any given day, ask how they feel about Jesus. Do you love Jesus today?
It's easy to get all tied up in knots about do-this-don't-do-that and what's going to happen tomorrow and woe is me, the world is a mess, and . . . Well you know what I mean, right? But, this passage from John 15 has always been something that brings me back to where I ought to be. All Jesus asks is that we love him and love one another the same way he loves us. This is his commandment to his disciples, and it is his commandment to us as well.
Normally, we follow someone's commandment either because they have some power over us or because we figure we can get something for ourselves if we go along. That's definitely the way the world works. I'll do for you so you will do for me. Unfortunately, that attitude doesn't work if you drag it over into the spiritual life. So many people think that they need to keep the commandments of God so that God will approve of them, or so that He won't stomp on them, or something like that. It's done as a this-for-that type of arrangement. But Jesus already told us that God loves us, and that Jesus loves us enough to die for us. So, we don't do these things in order to get that love, do we? As Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." We follow his lead because we love and trust him. That's what he wants. The rest of it, the sin and immorality, he will deal with in us in due time if we only trust him.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." (John 15:13-15 )
What really gets to me about this passage is the part where Jesus says to his disciples that they are his friends. To me, that opens up the deepest possible meaning of the relationship he wants with us. Think about friendship and what it means. A true friend is someone you can go to under any condition, with any type of problem, without fear of rejection. They know all about your quirks and frailties, but you know they will still accept you despite those things. Even more, there is an intimacy that allows friends to talk about things they don't dare reveal to others. All too often we need to be careful about how much we reveal of our inner passions and fears. Someone wanting to use and abuse you can take that knowledge and use it to manipulate you. So, we learn to be careful. But with an intimate friend, there are things we can reveal and talk over without that fear of betrayal.
This intimacy is even more so with Jesus. He has already proven, even before we were born into this world, that he will give everything including his life out of love for us. We can trust him totally with our deepest fears, our most shameful failures, and know absolutely that he will not reject us. He is aware of these things anyway, and despite our failure loves us as a perfect friend. When we talk about faith in Jesus, this is the basis of that faith. We trust totally in him because of that love that he has already shown to us.
Out of that intimacy with Jesus we gain true knowledge of God and His Kingdom. All the things that Jesus hears he shares with us. After all, that's what friends do.
"O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:25-26 )
What arises out of that love for Jesus is this intimate union of spirit. Jesus prays that we will experience that same unity that he had with the Father. Through Jesus we enter into this intimacy that gives life everlasting. The love that is God's alone He shares with us. In our fallen condition, we lack the capacity to truly love one another. But, His spirit in us fills us with that same love He has for us. That desire of the Father that His love goes out into the world is accomplished in and through us that the world would see and know the Father as Jesus knew Him.
So, how are you today? Do you love him today? Do you love Jesus?