This is one of those days I am embracing the power of just a few words. Powerful words. John 15:10. Here it is in NIV & ESV translations:
"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." -John 15:10 NIV.
"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 ESV
"If you keep my commands" -It is not that complicated. "Love me. Love each other." These ARE his commands in the short form. The things he instructs us not to do are destructive... Self destructive, relationship destructive or to destructive to someone else.
Swear or misuse His name... it offends him. It hurts the relationship with Him. He hates it. Humans will go to battle over disrespectful words. He is very clear about vainly using his name. It hurts the relationship and he doesn't want to hear it.
Do we love things more than him? He gave us that choice and power. If we choose that path, then we choose to not be "in him".
Love your neighbors...all of them. It is, at times, easier to love people in far away places than in our own backyards. We are told to love them anyway.
"You will remain/abide in my love"- we have dug into this already this year, but remember that the original word "meno" means to live in, dwell in, stay in or be knit into. The imagery I like is to "steep in" like a tea bag. We must remain in Him.
"Just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."
I wonder ... if God ever wondered ... if this power of choice he uniquely gave us, made us unable to be completely fully obedient? Did we have a defect? How could he judge us without being completely sure? So, he became one of us. He took a test drive in our human form and walked around with us and felt our pain, struggles and joys. He felt hunger, pain, love, loss and joy.
I love that he reminds us that he did it, too. As one of us. He faced temptations and struggles, but Jesus was obedient and remained in the Father's will. Even when it was hard. Really hard. Obedient onto death on a cross for people who did and will continue to reject him.
Jesus loved the Father. Jesus loved us. Both with tenacity and obedience. He remained, dwelling in the knowledge that the Father's big picture was worth the temporary struggles. Jesus remained.
We are called to relationship. His desire is that we remain and abide in Him for all of our days. "Return to me." The offer is still open.
Today, I am grateful for John 15:10. Simple directions.