Abide in Love
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 15:10 “If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remained in His love.”
Keeping Jesus’ commands means more than conforming to them outwardly. It includes bowing our whole essence, inwardly delighting to remain in His love.
A poet well said what it means to remain in someone’s love.
“Sit here by me.
Linger a while.
Let me look deep
Into your eyes.”
We are to abide in Jesus’ love. Since an abode is a home, Jesus’ love should be our dwelling place, a safe stronghold. His love is the air we breathe, the resting place where His followers are to linger. Remain in His love constantly.
The love of Jesus for us, when obediently responded to with an abiding love in us for Him, yields four powerful results in our lives. One, as we remain in God’s love, we experience comfort.
Contemplating His love for us is a wonderful consolation. Samuel Rutherford, writing while in prison due to his faith, described Christ’s love as “the hottest coal that ever I felt.”
Meditating on God’s love upholds us in sorrow, uplifts us in failure, upends us in error. Abiding in Jesus’ love makes our efforts to please Him easier to accomplish.
Love is as much an energy as it is an emotion. Experiencing someone’s love strongly motivates. Love made seven years of hard labor for Rachel seem easy to Jacob.
Love carries power in itself. Living in Jesus’ love provides a motivation and energy enabling us to do things delightful to Him.
In life’s most trying hours we are steadied by knowing Jesus loves us. In Spain, Napoleon’s troops opened a dungeon which had been sealed since the Inquisition. Inside, they found a chain fastened to the anklebone of a skeleton. The victim had been incarcerated for his faith, forgotten, and allowed to starve.
The man did not die without comfort. He had used a sharp piece of metal to cut into the rock wall a cross. At the four points of the cross, he had etched “height, depth, breadth, and length” to depict the vast magnitude of Jesus’ love for him. Even while starving to death in solitary confinement, the awe of God’s love in Christ overwhelmed him, and comforted him to the end.
Two, as we remain in God’s love, we experience commitment. Basking in Jesus’ love is delightful, but contemplation is not enough. Christ’s love is meant to be not only a truth pondered in the mind, and enjoyed in the heart, but also a fire simmering in the will that blazes forth in actions.
Thoughts and inner passions must turn into deeds. It is wrong to focus on and enjoy Jesus’ love, but then stay the same. He loves us to change us.
Count Zinzendorf, who claimed serving Jesus was “his one passion,” traced the decisive moment in his life to a time when he was overwhelmed by contemplating a picture of Jesus on the cross. He asked, “You did this for me; what can I do for You?” This moment of sincere lingering changed him, and became the catalyst for his subsequent career for Jesus.
The love exchange between our Lord and us is meant to cause a commitment in us that remains unblemished for a lifetime. We are to love Him incorruptibly, with an abiding affection, resulting in a life-long commitment. The genuineness of our abiding love for Jesus is proved by its endurance.
Our love for Christ is to be permanent. God’s grace to us never stagnates; our love for Jesus should never grow stale. Our passion must be neither a passing gleam, like the morning fog or early dew, nor a feeling only stirred by a sentimental hymn.
It has to be a deep, strong, everlasting emotion that persists through all our varying moods, ever showing itself in actions. It should remain incorruptible, deep in our essence, untainted by selfish thoughts, refusing to be swayed from Jesus by an opposite love of anything displeasing to Him.
Three, as we remain in God’s love, we experience communion. As we enjoy comfort and display commitment for an extended period of time, we sense ourselves being drawn irresistibly to love Christ ever more intimately.
A desire for deeper communion with Jesus is not intended only for an elite corp of deep mystics. It is meant to be the norm for all believers.
Our goal is not to consider His love only abstractly, but to enjoy more direct intimacy with Him. We should ever be seeking more of Him.
Every Christian should want to know Jesus better. The new birth plants in us a love instinct for Jesus, sparking a desire for God clamoring for satisfaction.
We identify with the poet William Cowper, who yearned to love Jesus more. “Lord, it is my chief complaint
That my love is weak and faint.”
The inevitable result of love extended long is an increased desire for deeper communion with the beloved. If Ruth and I were given an all expenses paid trip to North Carolina, and were told I could stay in the Biltmore Mansion while Ruth slept at Motel 6, I’d say, “Thanks, but no thanks. Motel 6, here I come.”
Years of love have taught me, where Ruth is, John wants to be. The same should be true of our relationship with Christ.
We should have a growing desire to draw ever closer to our sweet, affable, lovely Jesus. We ought to be seeking to make Jesus the obsession of our lives.
Fra Angelico painted several pictures of Jesus and the two on the road to Emmaus. He was obviously enamored with the precious thought of two men who were allowed to come away from the busyness of life and linger alone with Jesus awhile. In one picture, the two are grasping Christ’s hand, as if pleading, “Abide with us. Remain with us!”
Grasp Him, linger with Him. This is the one longing we will never find unsatisfied. To crave God is to possess God. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Four, as we remain in God’s love, we experience compassion. Jesus’ love conforms its admirers to itself. The old painters, in pictures of the Last Supper, often portrayed John the Beloved with a face similar to His Master’s.
The painters were making a valid statement. Anyone enamored with Christ’s love will inevitably begin to be like Jesus, look like Jesus, act like Jesus, have compassion like Jesus.
We eventually become what we love. Love woos the beloved not only into our presence, but also into our very essence.
We should want Jesus to live in us, and through us. His love has ever been the chief motivating force in the lives of His most heroic followers.
Two Moravian missionaries, looking down from a hillside into an African leper colony, saw two men making a garden: one with no arms was carrying on his back a man with no legs. Compelled by the love of Jesus, the two missionaries entered the colony, knowing it meant they could never leave again.
Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland, the eldest of seven children. Her parents were devout Christians. She served in India 56 years, housed over 1,000 children in an orphanage, many of whom were girls she rescued from temple prostitution. Amy, who never came home on furlough, wrote a poem describing her passion.
Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me thy Fuel, Flame of God.
Abide in Jesus’ love; be comforted. Remain in Jesus’ love; be committed. Linger in Jesus’ love; enjoy communion. Live in Jesus’ love; show compassion.