John 15:9-17 NIV
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
To know that God is your Father and loves you as He loves His Son, Jesus, is a knowing not of this world. It is a reality that only the Holy Spirit reveals and allows your mind and soul to take hold of. It is a spiritual knowing that fills and enervates the heart and works out practically in the Christian’s life.
It is not just doing works to show God’s love, but is a deep inner expression of heartfelt compassion, grace, mercy… love. There is nothing in life like it, and cannot be worked up or manufactured. This love is not a strategy or a mission to achieve something, but is the deep inner work of the Spirit of God in the life of the Christian that produces a vibrant relationship with God the Father. The fruit is prayer. We offer good deeds as fruit, but the truth is, we can do nothing eternal or spiritual, without the Spirit.
We must remain in this love. This is a daily walk with God, a constant seeking Him and to be filled with the Spirit in all circumstances. As we do so, He will change our outlook, our motivations and we will recognise His perfect work in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us.
The Father loves His children, made right with Him through faith. He loves us His people as He loves Christ. This is a perfect and undying love that gave everything to the most unworthy. God gave His Son, His eternally beloved Son, for the sake of sinful, selfish and proud people, who hated Him. This is a shocking truth.
God’s love does not centre on Himself and what He has, but He gave all for love of those outside Himself. Love is not selfish and a sentimental focus on an ideal. Love is real and costs everything we have, if we should have this love at all.
Love will require each of us to look beyond ourselves and our families and reach out. Love always requires sacrifice- the sacrifice of our whole lives as we serve God. We do not serve as slaves or servants, but as dearly beloved friends, sharing in His sacrifice and becoming more and more like Him.
We have the responsibility to stay in the love of God, to foster a frame of mind that gives freely, especially to those who are undeserving- which is us all. We are precluded from making value judgments about people, for we ourselves are at the bottom of the pile. We deserve nothing, yet possess everything and give it without hesitation to whoever is in need. This will make our joy in the Spirit, and in our earthly lives, complete.
This is the purpose of the life of the Christian. Jesus has taught us everything we need to know and we have dwelling in us the power of the Spirit of God. We must exercise this power, insight, and love, as Christ constrains us to do. If we do not, we are not His, for we are not like Him.
If I see I am lacking, I can ask for this power and love to serve as He intends me to. If I have no fruit that will last, the Father will give me fruit, when I ask. Bearing fruit for God is something I seek.
The defining feature of the Spirit-filled Christian is love – the huge and limitless love of Christ presiding in the life and working out in potent prayer and deeds of grace. It produces an unlimited relationship with God the Father, Jesus our Saviour and the Holy Spirit who lives in every Christian.