Love and Joy

People believe that perfecting love and joy is easy.  After all, you love someone, right?  And you have things or people in your life that bring you joy, right?  Don’t forget, there is also the matter of accepting the love and joy from elsewhere.

John 15:9-17:

   9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

These are Jesus’ words.  He is saying that as the Father, God, has loved him, he has loved others.  I believe specifically here he is talking about the disciples.   Because of this, we are to continue in His love.

   10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

If we keep His commandments, we’ll abide in His love.  Jesus did this himself, so he’s not asking us to do anything that he hasn’t already done.

   11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

Jesus was full of joy.  All the works he did were in joy and love for others, not for recognition.  So, he tells us these things that HIS joy will be with us and that we will be filled with joy ourselves.

   12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

So, what is His first commandment?  To love one another, as He has loved us.  Remember that Jesus didn’t hang on the cross for just the believers, he hung on the cross for EVERYONE.  Yes, even the criminals and not so nice people (which is generally speaking the rest of us.)

   13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

This verse happens to be my oldest daughter’s favorite verse.  And think about it, would you lay down your life for your friends?  How much love does that take?  Quite a bit.  And Jesus laid down his life for the entire world, willingly.  What a remarkable statement about his character.

   14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

We are his friends, IF we do what he has commanded.  By following his commands, we are who he died for.

   15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

I found this verse interesting.  We are to have a servants heart. Yet, Jesus won’t call us servants, but friends.  Why?  Because a servant doesn’t know what their master (boss) does, but Jesus has made it known the what God has instructed.

   16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

We don’t choose Him, he chooses us.  He’s ordained us to go out and bear fruit, bring people to Christ.  I have one caveat to that.  I refuse to force someone to Christ.  I make it known my beliefs.  I don’t hide them.  I present the truth, and when someone is moved by the spirit, they will come to Christ.  But I will not lecture someone about it and push them when they are not ready.  A person will let you know when they are ready.  But it is not up to me to convert someone, that’s God’s job.  The end of the verse reminds us that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name, we will be given.  Bear in mind that if what we ask is against God’s plan, it just won’t happen. 😀

   17These things I command you, that ye love one another.

And the most important thing to remember of it all?  Not just that this is what he has commanded of us, but that WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER.  That doesn’t mean just a few people, that means everyone.  That, is the part that is not so easy.  I know I struggle with it on a regular basis, though it is easier and easier to do as I let the spirit work within me.

I challenge you, to look at things a little differently.  You don’t have to agree with the person’s views, politics, or way of life.  You can still love them.  Trust me, it is possible.  Oh, and this would be what most people would refer to as tolerance.

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