Response to the Topic of John 15:1-17 Life Application (Jul23 CSLI)

A Monthly Reflection

This month is a direct reflection regarding life application of the Scriptural text of John 15 verses 1 through 17 yet intertwined with grace.   Grace and abiding.

We are trying to unpack the reality of grace and the beauty that lies within for it is a good reminder to keep us grounded in our faith.  The L-rd determined long before that His love enacted out through grace was and is needed for us.  I would venture to say that we are meticulously created to receive and have that type of love.  Grace is pure and is a model for how we love others and how He has loved us.  We don’t deserve it – yet we need it desperately.  It is active love.  It is sacrificial love.  It is unmerited and unadulterated.

Within the concept of the text Jesus shows us the truth that apart from Him – we are nothing and can do nothing.  Grace would not be needed if there was no grace-giver and grace-receiver.  You need to have both.  Abiding as stated from the mouth of Jesus calls us to gather near Him, embrace His care for us and calls us to care for Him by obeying His commandments. 

Abiding is our act of response to His grace.  Jesus owes us nothing, yet He gives us His grace to allow us to abide in Him.   The fruit then comes naturally, and we bless Him and others in return.  We learn how to love others, we learn how we should submit to the Father, we learn how to stay pure and strong, we learn how to respond to others when we are treated poorly, we learn how to forgive and ask for forgiveness.

In this month’s movie, “The Grace Card”, there is a saying:

            “I promise to pray for you every day, ask for your forgiveness, grant you the same, and be your friend always.” – the Grace Card

In order to say or even think of these words, one of the main characters (and so do we), need to come to terms with grace on how to forgive.  I don’t believe we as humans can forgive others until we know how much we have been forgiven and that comes through an intimate relationship with Jesus.  We judge, we slander, we are quick to blame.  We hold grudges, we backstab, we gossip, and we do horrendous things for revenge, but it never gives us peace or any sort of real comfort.  Forgiveness progresses forwards, hate backwards.    Forgiveness heals, hate lingers in the mud and pain.

So how do we abide in Christ?  How do we not want to?  For life is within His arms and when you come to the utmost in terms with the realities of our iniquities and our filth, we need Him desperately.  There is not another answer, another way, another meaningful pursuit.  It is all Him.   Last year’s structure led us to study the basic Christian disciplines of prayer, scripture reading, worship, etc. – but I think it is more.  I think it is crying out often for Him.  For me, to draw near daily, perhaps sometimes moment-by-moment as I repeatedly don’t have the strength to do what’s right or know how to move a step forward.  I am lost in my own ways and in my own head.  I need the Holy Spirit to help me stay on that narrow road of His and to give me strength to take the next step.

Paul stated that He had practically everything, but he counted it all as lost for the sake of Christ.  I may not have the same rabbinical training, nor the prestigious family heritage but I have so much more than I deserve and am so blessed yet all the things I have tasted, touched, or possessed does not fulfill what only Jesus can.  The hole is too big, too intricate, and intimate to be filled with things or experiences.  It is Jesus that fills up perfectly and completely. 

That’s abiding.  And that is why Jesus states it clearly that we need Him.

And why we need to also love Him.  Our response will be out of sheer devotion of love to Him even if He needs to prune us like a rose bush.  We will love Him more and will bear more fruit (or flowers) for our Father and the Kingdom.  It may hurt but it will be worth it.

So the application to me for John 15, and like last month in Psalms, and continued, are:

  1. Remember who G-d is to us, to me.
  2. Remember what He has done and is doing for me.
  3. Honor Him with my heart, soul, mind, and strength – at least ask Him for help in trying this more. 
  4. Praise and give thanksgiving more often.
  5. Internally listen and obey the Holy Spirit more.
  6. Remember I can’t earn Him or His blessings – He has sacrificed for me!
  7. He is my strength – He is my song of deliverance.
  8. Ask the L-rd to reveal Himself and His acts and ways more so that I can grow to love Him more and marvel in who He is and what He does.
  9. (new) – remember that apart from Christ – I am nothing.  I need Him daily.
  10.  (new) – that He is my strength and that I need to ask for strength to obey Him.
  11.  (new) – that I need His help to learn more about how to love Him.

Reviewing last month’s:

Nothing fits like Jesus.  The only real fix.  Our only real purpose.  The only way we are made complete is in Him and through Him.  We abide in Jesus and are safe and our Heavenly Father sees us in His arms and smiles for we are His precious children.  Thank you, Abba, for your love.

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