John 15.9-17, John, #79 in the series.
Having the undying love of your Heavenly Father . . .
May I ask you a personal question:
What difference does it make to you, on a daily basis,
that God loves you?
[Besides that you can choose to live with him forever by accepting his gift of love] How you answer that question is vital to who you are as a person and whether or not you experience joy.
-when you are under so much pressure on your job, you are certain that either a heart attack or stroke is in your future …
-when you wake up to another day of pain throughout your body,
-when you fear leaving your small house, wondering who has told the sharia authorities that you are a Christian…
-when you can find no real worth in the face you see in the mirror,
-when you are worried what the future holds~
-when you cannot break free from that which has you bound-namely, addiction
-when you long to feel the arms of love wrap around you, but there aren’t any, or
-when you are just simply caught up in the repetitiveness of life . . .
you must stop and remember you are ‘the one who Jesus loves’.
From today's passage, look what Jesus said about how you are loved:
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you
John identified as ‘the one whom Jesus loved’ . . . that was how he identified.
(John 13.23) And that's you too!
Not long ago I received in the mail a postcard from a friend that had on it only six words, “I am the one Jesus loves.” I smiled when I saw the return address, for my strange friend excels at these pious slogans. Turns out the slogan came from author and speaker Brennan Manning. Manning said, “If John were to be asked, ‘What is your primary identity in life?’ he would not reply, ‘I am a disciple, an apostle, an evangelist, an author of one of the four Gospels,’ but rather, ‘I am the one Jesus loves.’
What would it mean, I ask myself, if I too came to the place where I saw my primary identity in life as “the one Jesus loves”? How differently would I view myself at the end of the day?
Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible’s astounding words about God’s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees? What a life-giving notion!!
Brennan Manning tells the story of an old Irish priest who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, “You must be very close to God.” The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, “Yes, he’s very fond of me.”*
Perhaps I shall get a tattoo that says, “I am the one Jesus loves” on the inside of my wrist, just above my watchband. Then, when the pretty little silver bracelet I wear with my watch catches my eye, I will read, look up, smile and breathe,
‘Yes, Lord, I am the one you love … oh, and thanks, thanks a lot!’
*-Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, visual edition
5/Prayer: Take some time to connect with the One who loves you so. "Search me and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts, O Lord. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the everlasting way!"
5/Worship: I Am Loved, Mack Brock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OmYhgvwQa8