John 15:8,10 (NIV) This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples…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.
Remaining in the love of God…is an active response of obedience. Jesus said almost the same thing earlier, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (14:15), though there, obedience was the manner in which the disciples showed love for Jesus. …This pericope has been intentional to make God the cause and the disciple the effect; God is the source and the disciples are passive recipients but also active respondents…just as “love” is not defined in abstraction but by the person and work of God through Jesus, so also is “obedience.” Our obedience is enabled by our participation in God (by the Spirit) and is guided by his person (the example of Christ). [E. Klink III, John, Zondervan ECNT]
Jesus illustrates the true life of love for his disciples where the Spirit renews, guides and enables us to live each day “doing” the ways of Jesus. There is no separation between remaining in Christ and doing the ways of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, I offer my life again to be your disciple. Empower me with your Spirit to obey your commands and walk the very steps and ways of Jesus that bear greater fruitfulness for your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
John 15:9,12(NIV) As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
Think of what Christ says: “As the Father has loved me”—what a divine, everlasting, wonderful love—“so have I loved you.” It was the same love with which He loved the Father and that He always bore in His heart that He now gave into the hearts of His disciples. He yearns that this everlasting love should rest upon us and work within us that we may abide in it day by day. What a blessed life! Christ desires every disciple to live in the power of the self-same love of God that He himself experienced…The Christ with whom you desire fellowship longs unspeakably to fill you with His love. [Andrew Murray, 365 Timeless Devotions from Classic Writers]
This is the nature of God’s love:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer 31)
“His love endures forever” (Ps. 118)
“How priceless your unfailing love” (Ps. 36)
How did Jesus demonstrate God’s love for us?
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5)
Meditate on these words. Believe these words. God holds us and keeps us in his love.
Prayer: Lord, fill me with your everlasting love. Help me believe and trust in your unfailing love. Keep me close to your heart. May my heart be captivated and shaped by your redeeming love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
John 15:7 (NIV) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
This prayer is not asked in isolation but in the intimate, mutually indwelling relationship between Jesus and the disciples… the prayer, like the relationship, has Christ as the primary cause. This is because it is created in and guided from the entirety of Jesus’s message—his person and work. In light of our union with Christ, “whatever you wish” is not a blank-check prayer but participation in the life and mission of God. [E. Klink III, John, Zondervan ECNT]
Souls abiding in Jesus open the day with prayer; prayer surrounds them as an atmosphere all day long… Consistent asking comes out of abiding in Christ. Some believers pray by the yard, but true prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length. [Charles Spurgeon, 365 Timeless Devotions from Classic Writers]
Has it been a struggle to pray? Is your heart cold? Do you feel you don’t know how to pray? Prayer flows forth from a living relationship with Jesus, the very presence of him in us.
Prayer: Lord, may your Spirit and words deepen my relationship with you. May your words become the prayers that I pray. May your will and glory be the answers I desire and wait for. In Jesus’ name, amen.
John 15:1-2 (NIV) I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
“On a Sunday soon after, the church plant team received from John 15 that as branches that remain in the true vine, being pruned is a matter of fact – so we can’t and don’t need to avoid it. I felt relief as I received God’s perspective – he will always deal with the unfruitful areas in my life, not to crush me, but rather because he is determined to bring forth a greater fruitfulness than I think is possible. These were grace-filled, life-giving moments that began a new process of transformation in me. I began to notice the Spirit’s help and conviction in moments where I would have usually gotten stuck in my own opinions and understanding, and the Lord gave me desire and power to be taught and to agree with his ways.” [excerpt from Jennie Lin’s testimony]
Are you experiencing the Father’s sharp but loving pruning process to bring your life in line with his heart and ways? How are we to respond?
Prayer: Father, help me not to resist your grace-filled work in my life. Humble my heart to yield to the transforming power of your Spirit in me. Your ways truly lead to real life and greater blessing. In Jesus’ name, amen.
John 15:4 (NRSV) Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
He says, “Just as truly as the branch is in the vine, you are in me. And now, just as the Father abides in me, and works in me, and I work out what He works in me; and just as truly as the branch abides in the vine, and the vine gives its life and strength to the branch, and the branch receives it and puts it forth in fruit—even so do you remain in me and receive my strength. I will work with an almighty power in you and through you. Abide in me!” [Andrew Murray, 365 Timeless Devotions from Classic Writers]
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are brought into union with Christ. We experience and live that union through the empowering presence of the Spirit of God who comes to indwell all believers.
To abide in Jesus is not about doing more for him. It is about being more with him, having more of Jesus in our lives and deeper intimacy with him.
Prayer: Lord, you are the true vine. Help me to abide in you. Fill me with the empowering presence of your Spirit. Renew my thoughts to be on you. Shape my will to depend on you. Fill me with greater desire for you. In Jesus’ name, amen.