Ah John 15:9-12 a promise of love and joy! Though falling in and out of love is a familiar concept in this life, the Bible repeatedly shows us a more excellent way. A love that is with us, always, at all times, forever yet we must choose to embrace it. How?
As mentioned in last week’s promise, God’s love is with us always; nothing can separate us from it and we benefit from it daily in a myriad ways. However, it is is still within our power to choose to embrace the full experience of God’s love and John 15:9-12 tell us how:
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.
How beautiful. How powerful. How wonderful! Jesus here shares his plans, his ambitions and his motives for us.
- He wants us to be loved – “Now remain in my love”.
- He tell us how to embrace this love - ” If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love”
- He tell us why – “so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Quite simply, love and joy are promised to us in exchange for a single command:
love each other as I have loved you
A command to love
And this isn’t just any command. This is one half of the greatest commands upon which “all the law and prophets” (basically the whole bible) hang. Don’t take my word for it, read Matthew 22:36-40:
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Oh. my. goodness. There’s so much going on for me in those few lines I don’t even know where to begin but in the words of Julie Andrews “let’s start at the very beginning”
Jesus is clear. The greatest thing we can do is to love God. It struck me that this is a bit like someone reminding you to love the parent who sacrificed all to love, nourish and provide for you. It’s all too easy to lose touch and fail to maintain relationships with those who love us.
Here Jesus simply calls us to really do something about that. Instructing us to get our priorities in order and reciprocate the immense love our Father in heaven has for us.
Then he calls us to turn our attention to those who are around us. “Love your neighbour…” The ripple effect from this seemingly straightforward act is just ridiculous. Studies show people in healthy relationships live longer, thinking about loved ones lowers stress levels, hugs may be able to reduce depression the list goes on.
When we love others, when we socialise and serve we don’t just have a nice time, we’re improving people’s health, extending lives, providing purpose and inspiration, increasing productivity, giving hope and happiness, and improving mental and physical wellbeing. The impact of your love and kindness is far-reaching.
Last but not least is the almost missable bit at the end, “love your neighbour as yourself”.
Do you love yourself well? Are you taking care of your emotional, mental, physical, spiritual wellbeing? It’s so important we don’t neglect ourselves in the process of caring for others. Be healthy as you care for the health of others, be kind to yourself as you show kindness to others. Take care of what you need to take care of to ensure you are loving and serving others from a place of wellness.
About the featured video
In the process of sharing these promises about love I’ve been thinking a lot about how much we need to reshape our concept of love. This fun animation kind of reminded me of that process plus I quite liked the opening lyric.
More than the greatest love the world has known this is the love I give to you alone…
Preach it Martha! Now if only I could get that remix…
Anyway, I hope this promise blesses you this week. Whatever your priorities or goals for the week ahead be sure that to love God and your neighbour as yourself is at the top.
Love, be loved, be happy.
God bless x
Definition of a promise
A declaration or assurance that one will do something e.g. “If you post a comment I promise to read it” or that a particular thing will happen e.g. “If you post a great comment I promise to smile and say you’re awesome”
If you have a favourite promise or text for this week, please share in the comments below.