Today's guest blogger is Linda Rice. Linda counsels at
Gateway Biblical Counseling and Training Center. M.A. in Biblical Counseling.
Certified by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. You can
read more of Linda's writing here. Today's blog is reposted with permission.
In His last message before torture and death, Jesus comforted, instructed, and prayed for His disciples (John 13-17). One of the desires He expressed for them was,
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.”(John 15:9)
Jesus wanted His disciples to receive and experience His love, not just in the horrible events of the following days, but to remain in it for the rest of their lives.
This He told to His disciples. By extension, if you are a follower, a disciple of Christ, then Jesus’ desire is the same for you. For example, Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus that “Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith; and that [they], being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge…” (Eph. 3:17-18).
Consider the implications of Christ’s infinity in relation to His love. He being omnipotent, His love is all-powerful toward any person upon whom He bestows it. It does the impossible in saving souls (Lu. 18:26-27). He being omniscient, His love is all-wise. It always knows just what shape love needs to take for each person for comforting and refining. He being holy, His love is like no other. It comes only from God. He being pure, His love is absolutely pure. No lie that can corrupt it. He being all-good, His love demands justice. Without justice, goodness fails. He being merciful, His love redeems. He even went through death to pay that redemption price. He being omnipresent, He loves His own in every situation. He being infinite, there is no place in Creation where His love does not reach, no time when it runs out, no darkness that dims it, no sin that overpowers it, no guilt that outweighs it. The Ephesian believers could rest securely in the love of Christ no matter their failures. Before them, the disciples could rest securely in the love of Christ in the doubts and trials and failures that would soon assail them. So can all followers of Christ.
If you have trusted in Christ for your salvation from yourself and your sin, then you are irrevocably positioned in the sphere of this love of Christ. You do not have to earn merit with Him. Meritorious work for salvation isn’t possible anyway. In fact, the one who tries to be good enough for God to accept him is behaving like an unbeliever. Man’s merit is moot; relationship is right. You need to repent from trusting in self and trust in Christ alone by His grace alone. Rest in His work. Abide in His love.
Jesus went on to tell how His love in the disciples would be evident. If they would remain, abide, live in His love, then they would demonstrate love for Him by keeping His commands.
“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” (John 15:10).
While we rest in Christ’s work for salvation, true love obeys. The one who does not obey does not love Him. But the obedience that delights God is that which flows out of love for Him, not that which is done to try to earn merit or appease Him. We run restingly.
Christian, do you tend to be performance-oriented?
Do you have standards of spirituality by which you determine how spiritual you are?
Do you often criticize others for not living up to your standards?
Are you constantly weighed down with “shoulds” and guilt feelings for not living up to your standards?
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)
You have a God who desires, actually wants, you to enjoy His love. Take some time today to rejoice in the unearned love you receive from the Lord. Here are three ways you might implement putting off performance orientation and putting on love for Christ:
- Rather than do a project that can be tallied on your spirituality check-list, spend some time simply adoring Christ by means of what He has made. Admire His handiwork in creation on earth or in the heavens. Tell Him of your delight in Him for His craftsmanship.
- You could use a psalm to read and ponder and pray back to the Lord in thanksgiving and praise. Psalms 103, 145, and 148 are full of adoration.
- When you consider the next activity to be done, ask yourself, “Am I doing this because Ishould, or because I love the Lord and want to serve Him with obedience?” Certainly, excel in good works, but do so for love, not for merit.
Man’s merit is moot. Relationship is right.
Put off performance. Abide in His love.
Labels: Guest Blogger- Rice