“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 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. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:9-17 (NKJV)
In John 15, Jesus opens up the way to experience amazing things: A Fruitful Life (1-8), A Life of Love (9-10), A Life of Joy (11), A Life of Friendship (13-15). Here is a life worth living, the kind of life you’ve always wanted and the kind of life that Jesus came to give. I spent my early years not understanding how to experience “the good life.” In some ways, I was stuck in the middle of John 10:10. On one side, the thief was trying to steal, kill and destroy and I was pretty easy prey for his tactics. On the other side, Jesus was offering me the abundant life, the life I truly dreamed of but it seemed elusive, just out of reach!
I remember hearing a preacher describe it like this: “God is voting for you; the devil is voting against you. You must cast the deciding vote!” The day I voted for Jesus by calling on His name and putting my faith in God (instead of my own efforts and good works), was the day everything changed. I began a new life in Christ and I was excited about the journey ahead! I quickly discovered that there were challenges along the way! Thank God for those new Christian friends that I met who befriended and encouraged me. They brought me into a student fellowship and helped me begin to grow as a disciple. With their help, I started to read and study the Bible, to have a quiet time and to understand more about my newfound faith.
I look back on the friends, mentors, spiritual parents and others who helped to shape my life during these early years with enormous gratitude. I would not have made it without them! I am also aware that not everyone has had the benefit of being surrounded by a close knit, supportive community. I know that it is not good for us to be alone in our journey with Christ and I am looking for ways to create opportunities to help people experience real body life within our church family.
In the season ahead, we want to deepen our connections. Learning to abide in the vine and to grow in community are non-negotiable priorities if we want to have a life worth living. Please take a moment and consider your current experience as a follower of Jesus. Are you enjoying the journey, making progress, feeling stuck, experiencing great friendships? Jesus has not left us without help! All the resources we need for success are available. Let me invite you to an intentional journey of discipleship and to take the next steps into a life that is worth living, the life you’ve always wanted!
Resting in the promise of abundant living!