Thursday, May 21, 2015

Abiding with the Joy of Christ (John 15:7-11)

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:7–11, ESV)

Abiding in Christ’s words results in a life directed in truth. It is a life given to learning, trusting, and obeying what Jesus had to say and then following it fully. This is the example that Jesus set for us. He was with the Father and sent by the Father. What He said was what the Father gave Him to say and what He did was what the Father gave Him to do, and in this Jesus glorified the Father and the Father accomplished perfectly in the Son what He was sent to do. Jesus, the Son, was perfectly aligned with the will of the father and the Father did exactly what He intended in Him. Jesus’ love for the Father was proven by His attention to the will of the Father.

Having set this example and praying that we might be one in Him as He is one with the Father, Jesus again told His disciples that if they sought after Him and listened to His words, then the Father would do in them as He had done for the Son. As the Father works in incredible ways in them the Father is then glorified and they become living proof that He is real.

Jesus told His disciples that He loved them with the same love that the Father loved Him, and then He called them to live in that same love—to rest in it knowing that the love of God would never fail and that they would never be separated from it. Again coming back to the issue of actions resulting from abiding Jesus told them that their obedience to His direction was an outward proof of their inward treasure. This is how He responded to the Father, and how He called them to respond to Him.

All of this was told to them so that they would know His joy and that their joy might be full. This was not to say that being a Christian was a trial free life full of prosperity and amazing miracles, but one knowing that we are securely held by Him, and that as we seek after Him and listen to Him we will indeed be fruitful in what He has given us to do. As we lift our prayers to Him we know that He hears us because of the love of Christ in us, knowing that as God works in us He indeed will be glorified. Jesus found joy in doing the will of the Father, and in Him the Father was well pleased. Likewise, knowing the love of Christ for us it is to be our joy to give ourselves fully back to Him.

As simply as I can think to put it, because of the love of the Father for man and the Son’s love of the Father, the Son willingly and without reservation gave His life to pay the penalty for man’s sin and then took His life back up again to give us new life and a restored relationship with the Father. Because of the Son’s love for us and an our love for Him in response we hide His word in our hearts and follow Him fully with the joyful assurance of knowing that God will be glorified in us as well.

Knowing that man was not going to be able to do this on His own, Jesus also told His disciples that after He left the Father would send another (the Holy Spirit) to permanently indwell all who believe. In Galatians 5:22-25 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22–25, ESV) Love, joy, and peace. All of these are things that God has shown us and things which the Spirit of God works in us. Walking this way is not something we muscle through, but the fruit of our abiding in Christ and giving ourselves fully to Him. Just as this passage says, we are to walk in step with the Spirit, setting aside the ways of the world, and resting in what the Spirit does in us. Paul wrote in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17, ESV)

No comments: