9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.
In verses 1-8 Jesus used an analogy to explain what it means to abide in Him, thus abiding in God. By doing so, we abide in Jesus’ love. While we are used to reading 1 Corinthians 13 as the love chapter, we could very well call this the love chapter as well. While 1 Corinthians may explain the properties of God’s perfect love, this passage explains the relationship we get to have with God in love.
What is joy? It is a deep happiness. It is more than a laugh or a happy moment. It is more than that moment you open a present you always asked for. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” He had complete joy because he abided in God’s love. He knew that regardless of his external circumstances, there is a God who loves him, will never forsake him, and will always be there for him. Joy is an eternal happiness that is not dependent upon our current situation in the world.
The rest of this passage is very convicting. We tend to not look at it that way because it can be uncomfortable. So, we say, “well, He was talking to the 12 (11, rather), so I don’t have to pay attention to this part,” and we skip right over the meaning. Friends, if we claim to be followers of Christ (ie – Christians), then this is said specifically to us!
He wants us to bear fruit and the way to do so is love. In being part of the vine as Jesus previously talked about, we are chosen and created to love. Love one another, love others, love God. If we claim to be followers of the One true God, then this is what we will set out to do. People constantly inquire what God’s purpose is for them in life, what He created us to do, why are we here, etc. This is the answer! In loving others we become friends of God! Jesus never says we need to be perfect. He never says we need to earn His love. He never instructs us to follow a list of rules that makes it look like we love.
In loving others and loving God, our joy will be made full. Folks, we benefit from doing this! If you don’t believe me, try loving someone today unconditionally. Love them because God loves you. It is such a simple solution but we constantly miss it. The irony: He still loves us despite our conceitedness, selfishness, and pride! Nobody can out love God. The proof is that despite all you have done and all you do, He still loves you.