A negative state of mind can only change if it is consistently flooded with truth. A cynical person can learn to see the bright side only by regular exposure to that which is positive. An anxious, fretful woman banned from using medication must turn to truth and positivitiy the second she begins to stew and worry. To that end, I am participating in the 2015 edition of the Siesta Scripture Memory Team. I’ve got to put good stuff into my soul to drive out the bad that so naturally and easily arises.
Little did I know that the first two verses I chose to memorize would have such depth.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” – John 15:9 (NKJV)
Usually we focus on the “abide” part. We wonder what it means, what it looks like. Truly, the definition is fabulous: “accept or act in accordance with.” So abiding in Jesus’ love means to accept it. To live in it.
I’ve read this verse more times than I know, and this go-around pricked me with something new. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you.” Jesus is telling His people, His disciples, His friends, that He loves them exactly how the Father loves Him. By extension, He loves us exactly as the Father loves Him. We can further surmise that He loves His people just as the He loves the Father, just as the Spirit loves Him, and so on. Dwell on that for a minute. The Holy Trinity has existed in perfect, never-disjointed relationship for all eternity past and will exist in perfect, never-disjointed relationship for all eternity future. The love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit never ends. There is no limit to it. There is no reaching the bottom.
So much beauty. So much comfort.
There is also confrontation.
God’s love isn’t about smoothing things over. It’s not about maintaining the status quo. Jesus walked into the lives of His disciples and turned them completely upside down and inside out. He challenged how they thought, how they acted, how they felt. He’s still doing that today. The constant, unending love of God is first like hitting a brick wall then drowning in a fathomless sea. We go through the wall first. We see the gore of the Cross, the most loving act in history, and we are crushed.
Then the waves rush in. Instead of washing us away, they somehow rebuild.
“He must increase, but I must decrease. ‘ – John 3:30 (NKJV)
I believe that John the Baptist fully embraced the meaning of these words. He knew that Christ was the star of center stage. He knew that his mission was about pointing people to the only Savior. John knew precisely who he was and who he wasn’t.
And that’s because of the Lord.
When we accept and act in accordance with the love of God, we come to understand who we are. There is so much freedom to be had in that understanding. We can walk in confidence. We can speak the truth. We can create healthy boundaries. We can love others without an agenda.
We – I – need the wall and the wave in order to be whole. Love confronts and love comforts. There are times when the most loving thing that God can do is bring us face-to-face with our nastiness. And when we take a good look in that mirror, God never fails to hold us close.
Broken by the wall, rebuilt by the wave.