What does it mean to abide in the love of Christ? The word “abide”, isn’t used very often in our modern vocabulary, but it’s a word that sparks my imagination. When I hear it, I think of cozy family dinners or intimate conversations with close friends. I would like to think that my relationship with Jesus is cozy and intimate. And I want to feel that there is a real connection between us and not just a ritual that I was taught as a young child. So how do we get there? How can we develop the close relationship we desire and abide in the love of Christ? The words of Jesus tell us how.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
The word abide means to continue, remain in, or dwell. In this passage there are three key points about what it means and how to abide or dwell in Christ’s love. Let’s look at each one.
First, Jesus tells us that He loves us just as the Father loves Him. What an amazing thing to hear! Jesus wants us to continue to experience the joy of our salvation through Him and to have a close and personal relationship with Him, all because of His great love for us.
Second, Jesus explains that when we keep His commandments that is when we “abide” in or remain in His love. If we are obedient to Christ and His teachings then we are able to have the intimate relationship with Him that we are looking for.
Lastly, Jesus says that when we are obedient to Him, His joy will remain in us. This joy is a complete joy that is full of love. To receive this joy, all Jesus asks of us, is that we obey Him just as He has obeyed the Father. The idea of obedience is not a popular one these days, but to obey Jesus is to love Him. And when we love and obey, then we can truly experience what it means to abide in the love of Christ and have fullness of joy through Him.
Simply put, to abide in the love of Christ means to love Jesus and to be loved by Him. Just as the Father loved the Son, Jesus loves us. It sounds so easy, yet seems so complicated. In the fast paced modern world we live in, we can become so caught up in chasing the things of this world that we forget to be still and abide in the love of Jesus. But to set aside the things of this world and dwell in Him is exactly what we should do. My prayer for us today is that we will learn to obey the commandments of Jesus and understand what it means to follow Him in everything that we do. Then, through our obedience and love for Him, we will abide in the love of Christ and have fullness of joy.
In 1 John 3:24 we hear again about abiding in Jesus. But there is an extra component to this verse. Can you spot it? What did you learn about abiding in Jesus? What is different about this verse? What is it that we are given to help us abide?
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Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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