While reading from John chapter fourteen yesterday, I happened to glance over at the next column in my New King James Version and my eyes fell upon John 15:9. In this continuation of His teaching from the previous chapter, Jesus had just spoken of the true vine and began to move into a discussion on love declaring, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.” The King James Version uses the word “continue” instead of “abide.” The idea of continuing in Christ’s love was a bit easier for me to follow
Strong’s explains the thought behind this action as “to stay in a given place, state, relationship or expectancy.” This idea seems to go hand in hand with Christ’s earlier encouragement to ‘Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27) It appears to me that the ability to stay in peace has much to do with staying present and active in the position of Christ’s love!
Roberts Word Pictures states that to “continue in My love” or “in the love I have for you” is based on “our love for Christ (which) is the result of Christ’s love for us and is grounded at the bottom in the Father’s love for the world.” So, in order for us to stay in the place of expectancy of Christ’s love working in and through us toward others, we first have to possess an intimate experiential knowledge of Papa God’s love for us!
It is interesting when you look at the different types of love that are spoken of in John 15:9. In talking about how the Father loved Him and how He loved us, Jesus is describing the physical actions of love. The Greek word used here is “agapao” which is defined as ”to love people in a social or moral sense.” (Strong’s and Thayer’s) The word “agape” is used when He speaks of "my love" which is the mindset or lifestyle of love we are to stay in. This is the exceptional kind of love that the Patheos website defines as “the type of love that was displayed by Jesus on the cross and is always associated with the love of God.” (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/05/02/what-is-agape-love-a-bible-study/)
All this simply confirms what I’ve come to vividly learn and experience firsthand over the last few years in that love is an action word! Many people have said some very nice things to us over this time concerning our situation with my wife’s health but few have actually stepped out of their comfort zones and/or their busy schedules to reach out and display the physical activities of love that Jesus talks about in John 15:9. Jesus wasn’t just a talker when He walked on this earth… He was a doer of the Word.
Do you know that I have a good friend from our hometown who regularly calls me multiple times a week from the opposite end of the country to see how we’re doing and encourage us as well as a cousin who texts me almost daily to inquire about Piper and make me laugh? That’s the kind of actual love that I believe that Jesus is attempting to teach us in our verse today.
When you take a look in the mirror each day, what do you see? A talker or a doer? Jesus gives us a hint as how to discern this answer in you a few verses later in John 15:11 where He talks about our level of joy. Check it out and I’ll share some thoughts on that part of the Peace, Love and Joy equation in tomorrow’s blog post. But as for today… focus in on the Talker/Does scenario. Which are you… and which would you rather be? Have a great Thursday, keep or get in tune to God’s Word and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting to TALK about or DO today?”