“Making Yourself at Home in God’s Love”
At the beginning of a new semester, it helps to get a little encouragement – that added sense of comfort that can aid us in taking on a big challenge.
We find a similar situation in John, as Jesus shares promises and exhortations with His disciples in expectation of their greatest challenge.
These chapters in John are especially tender, as Jesus conveys comfort and instruction to His disciples in the waning hours before his arrest and subsequent death. For those who have spent much time in the Bible, these are familiar words.
Jesus’ call to servant leadership. His promise of the coming Holy Spirit. His predictions about what the disciples ought to do and be in His absence.
Among them is the exhortation to “Abide in my love.”
But what does that mean? The word Jesus uses here is a particular one and it translates well as “abide.” It conveys more than just the sense of staying or standing in something. If we could talk about Jesus’ love for us like a room or a home, to stay or remain is only about position – that you are located within the room. To abide is more than that, it means to make yourself at home, to become comfortable or familiar with the place. It is the branch “remaining” on the vine, nourished and nurtured therein. When used with people it can mean to “keep company with” – not just to stand beside them in physical proximity, but to stand with them in moral purpose.
But abiding is not a posture of repose, it is an active engagement. “If you keep my commandments,” Jesus continues, “you will abide in my love.”
Which commandments? Is there a list? Is it long?
He tells us: “Love one another as I have loved you.” And while He does not say it, we can believe that this statement assumes its pair from the Greatest Commandment: “Love the Lord your God.”
In short, love from love proceeds. Its fruit flowers when the branch is healthy and whole.
Pray these things over yourself today, over your work, over your classes, over your relationships and interactions. More importantly, pray it over your life in Christ, that you might “make yourself at home” in the love that Jesus has for you, the love that comes from the Father, abounding in mercy and rooted in truth.