As the Father has loved me, so have I 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, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone 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 servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all 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 should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
“Love is a feeling you feel you’re gonna get when you feel like you’re gonna feel like you’ve never felt before.” That little bit of wisdom accurately describes what many people consider love to be: a feeling. But Jesus speaks of something that is far more than a feeling. His teaching here is about abiding in God’s love, loving one another, bearing fruit, and praying with confidence. These practices are not driven by feelings, but by intentional acts of the will, and a spiritual connection to the true vine (cf. John 15:1). They are also connected to Jesus’ commands (cf. v. 7).
Jesus’ intent (v. 7) is that his followers would see love for one another as the true north of their moral, spiritual, ethical, and religious compass. His intent is not to build a new religious expression or a different mode of worship. The love that Jesus describes is sacrificial to the point of death. His love moved him toward these men who had no inclination toward him. His love allowed their relationship to move from followers, to acquaintances, to friends. His love compelled them to love one another, to bear fruit, and to experience joy.
If we are to embrace Jesus’ teachings fully we will be led to an intentional attitude of compassion, care, sacrifice, and a God-honoring lifestyle that is not driven by feelings, but by the incredible love of God in which we abide. We will offer ourselves to one another as far, and deep, and wide, and long, as necessary with motives as high as heaven is above the earth.
I want to keep that in mind today – no matter how I might feel. How about you?