Tag Archives: love

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John 14b – “The Home of God in Us”

Categories: Glimpses of Christ, Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Because of Christ and through the indwelling Spirit, the very presence of God, we get divine counsel/comfort, truth, recall of Jesus' teaching, the promise that we will never be abandoned.

3-crosses-at-left-2READ JOHN 14:15-31

The initial precept in Jesus’ teaching here in this passage is the close relationship between love and obedience. This must be recognized as an inescapable priority for us and an appropriate expectation from Christ. If we’re not careful, we can seem to think that Christ is calling for proof, advocating a legalistic, performance based structure to our relationship. It could easily smell like death if we only look at the words. This is why it is so important for us to make sure that the God-Man, Jesus, is the filter through which we interpret His Words. From studying His ministry, His relationships, and His message, it is difficult to understand how anyone could come to the conclusion that Jesus was demanding, “Prove your love to me – obey me!” in a near petulant, tyrannical tone. One needs to look no further than His love and affection for His disciples displayed on this ominous night. Knowing that they would betray, deny, abandon Him, He refuses to speak to them in derisive, judgmental tones. Christ would soon offer His life freely to sinners without first striking a deal with theme. He is the One who instructs us about the quality of our love being expressed out of the character of our obedience.  If He is our Lord, if we have been touched by His love and sacrifice, if we have Him residing in us, then our love will be shown through a lifestyle where obedience is the characteristic mode of our life as an expression of trust and love.

Before one complains at what we have to do, inventory this passage for what we get. Because of Christ and through the indwelling Spirit, the very presence of God, we get divine counsel/comfort, truth, recall of Jesus’ teaching, the promise that we will never be abandoned. This passage implies Trinitarian Residence: because of Christ, the whole divine family, Father, Son, and Spirit move in to take up residence in us. Here is where the amazing grace shows up.

I think of the plight of the Dalits of India who are considered sub-human by caste and therefore not worth the investment of any of the dignities customary to human beings. In their culture, the gods won’t waste time and energy on them, they are disqualified from public worship in customary temples because they are so far beneath that their worship is ignored. Indeed, they are capable of worshiping the gods. But the Christian God in Christ comes to them and through Christ they are told that not only does God love them but that He, the perfect righteous God of the universe, the God of all gods, desires to reside within them. Thus, in this new relationship, they no longer have to go to temples to worship God, they have become temples of God. Wow! The fact that the Triune God dwells within me says something about this God  I worship and it says something about my value to Him. I am temple of God. The Spirit of God dwells in me. That establishes a new order in me and calls me to a new lifestyle all because of who has made His home in me.

But there is a necessity to clarify the environment. The essence of residence, as Jesus points out, is peace: peace with God and the peace of God, the sense of well-being grounded in our being unconditionally forgiven and loved by God as His beloved children. This peace, with divine grace as its source and energy, is maintained through our submission to His presence. More simply, it is the natural byproduct of life lived in loving obedience to a God of grace and love. The question for the believer, for me, is not did God take up residence in me, but is He at home in me and I in Him? Is there His peace in my/His house? If there isn’t, that may be evidence that something else is interfering with His reign…something has diluted my love for Him and diverted my obedience to Him.

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John 13c – “Love vs. Pride”

Categories: Glimpses of Christ, Tags: , , , , ,

In this final moment with His men, before Christ offers Himself to the darkness in order to liberate mankind from it, His motive of love is the same expectation He lays before His disciples.

3-crosses-at-left-2READ JOHN 13:31-38

The Priority of Love: In this final moment with His men, before Christ offers Himself to the darkness in order to liberate mankind from it, His motive of love is the same expectation He lays before His disciples. He qualifies it in 3 ways:

1. It is a new command, a divine decree that must be obeyed; an edict that given the right moment and opposing forces will go against our natural instinct. It is one we must die to in contrast to preserving our own rights and fallible sense of justice (which usually involves something murderous and destructive). The Commander in Chief issues the order that His army operate in this with right hearts and right responses to each other.

2. It must emulate the quality of Christ’s love. The love expressed between disciples must reflect the purity and power of love Christ offered to them. They would gain a firsthand, front row seat to the depth of that love beginning with the Garden and all the way to Golgotha. That kind of love must leave us all with the sense of futility. You can’t just say “Yes Sir!” to loving like Jesus loves! It takes much more than sinful, fickle, fallible humanity to engender that kind of love. We need not only a divine example, but also divine power to do so, to counteract our natural instinct for self-survival against the supreme example in Christ of self-denying, self-sacrificing love. The Holy Spirit would become absolutely necessary in empowering us to obey this impossible command apart from divine enablement.

3. It reveals our devotion to Christ. This kind of love will be the proof to the world of the reality and supremacy of Christ as our Master and Lord. It may not draw everyone to Christ, but it will declare to the world that we are His disciples and that even the most vitriolic, intractable atheist cannot deny. Our Christ-like love for each other, love that mirrors the beauty of divinity within the horror of hostility, will offer the world an up close and personal revelation of the reality of the living Christ. It will reveal to the world that Jesus, fictional or historical, is alive in those who profess devotion to Him. And this may cause at least the question if not stimulate the personal hunger to be known to and by such a God. The qualifying mark and priority of the disciple of Christ: Christ-like love.

The Fallibility of Pride: We have such good intentions, don’t we? We want to be seen as noble, and upright, and dependable. We fail to realize that unless we are willing to take the deep look into our own caverns, we may miss the fact that we are aiding and abetting the Criminal that will rise to bring us down and bring harm to those we love the most. Such was the case with Peter. I believe he believed what he was saying, but we know he didn’t realize what he was saying.

Ironic, that the gospel writer records Peter referring to Christ as “Lord” in this. Peter basically tells the Lord…that He is wrong! (Luke 22:31-33; Mark 14:27-31; Matthew 26:31-35) This is the evidence of the presence of the Criminal who operates like a computer virus attaching itself to normal functions but corrupting processes while masquerading as native, innate elements. Allowed to exist, it spreads its corruption until the host is completely compromised and the system operates more like the virus in opposition to its original design.

Peter has continued to give room and board to his pride. By not taking Jesus as seriously as he should have, in presenting himself as utterly dependable and unflagging in loyalty rather than asking for help and strength, he made the mistake so many of us do: to believe more in ourselves than in Christ. This is where Christ is betrayed, disowned, and abandoned. This fallibility of pride leaves us vulnerable to our own destruction and the exposure of our true character in stark contrast to the character of Christ.

Tragically, the persistence of pride will find us always in opposition to Jesus and unable to carry out His commands, even the command to love as He did. What is demanded and required is the crucifixion of pride and the necessary reesurrection of His divine life within us. Apart from Him, the moment will inevitably come where we will disclose our true allegiance to our true master: ourselves. Apart from Christ, Peter did. Apart from Christ, so do we!