“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.” John 15:9-11
If you want to experience the abundant, joyful and fulfilling life in Jesus Christ, it’s all about location.
Sometimes in Scripture Jesus makes a comment that causes me to scrunch up my forehead and raise my eyebrows. John 15:9 is one of those verses. The statement is simple, “remain in my love.” But have you ever wondered just what Jesus was talking about? To remain is to stay in a place. The opposite of remain is leave, go away or remove yourself. As strange as it may sound it’s all about location.
We may be tempted to ask, “isn’t God’s love everywhere?” Is there really a certain location where we are to go and sit and wait to experience this love? Well, I believe the answer is no and yes. We can answer no if we are looking for some physical place, like a church, a mountaintop or quiet lakeside, where we must go to know the love of God. However, we must answer yes if we are to ask if there is a place to which God calls us and expects us to meet him and experience his love. Simply put, it is in the presence of God that we experience the love of God. Jesus is calling us to remain in him, knowing that is in him and him alone that we will experience the overwhelming presence of his eternal and unconditional love for us.
This might lead us to ask, “where else would we be if not in God’s presence?” We must be clear here that we are talking about our location, not God’s. He never leaves us, but we can certainly isolate ourselves from his presence in our lives. And where might we go? Well, the enemy is happy to provide us with lots of beautiful, glossy travel brochures inviting us to journey to all kinds of places that will take us away from the presence of God. Consider some of the following alternate locations. When we live with unrepentant sin in our lives we will feel as if God is 1000 miles away. When in our pride we live in selfishness, we will lose a sense of intimacy with God. When we allow fear and anxiety to overwhelm us, we can get the sense that we are all alone. When the cares of life steal from us all sense of hope, we can live in despair. Some deny the existence of God and live in delusion. Others have endured such incredible pain they cannot imagine a God that loves them.
The reality of each of these locations is that it is we who have moved and not God. Regardless of how far we run, how diligently we hide, how forcefully we rebel, the presence and love of God in Jesus Christ is as close as our very breath. All we need to do is turn our face toward him with a simple prayer, “Lord, I want to remain in your love.” If you need that reassurance today, an invitation to draw near to God and experience afresh today the love of Jesus Christ for you, then meditate for the remainder of the day on this verse.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38
Are you convinced? Then remain in his love!
There are countless reasons why you may not be experiencing today the love that God has for you. The most important action you can take today is to set aside all the distractions in your life and meditate on this one single thought, “God loves me unconditionally, lavishly and eternally.” Let that reality overwhelm you. Don’t let anything today distract you from the certainty of this great truth. Say it to yourself over and over again until it seeps deeply into your spirit. If you open up your heart and allow God’s Spirit to work in you today, regardless of where you are in your faith, you will experience the transformational love of God in a new and powerful way. All you need to do is ask.
May your unfailing love come to me, Lord; your salvation, according to your promise. Psalm 119:41
Gracious and loving God, you invite me to remain in your love. I am here, open, waiting expecting and yearning to know your love for me in a new and deeper way. You promised me that if I would draw closer to you, you would respond. I am here Lord. I know that you love me, but I pray today that you would help me experience that love in a way that brings comfort, assurance and peace. There are things in my life that make it feel like I have been separated from your love. I confess to you now that it is me who has moved and not you. And so Lord, I am coming back. I may not know how, nor do I have the power to overcome those things continually draw me away from you. So I come to you humbly, in need and with a passionate desire to remain in your love. I love you Lord, let me experience afresh your love for me. I pray this in the name of the one who, for the joy of this moment, endured the cross for me. Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.