Thursday, September 4, 2014

If You, You Shall

John 15:7-14

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples. 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 words 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."

Jesus always spoke honestly and conditionally. Some don't like that. It's their way or the highway. Well, Jesus could have coined that phrase too! It's My way or the highway. Think of the roads as they were years ago. Narrow, one, maybe two lanes, maybe dirt, maybe paved. Back roads. In the 20's highways were designed for the automobile. Then in the 50's came highways. They were bigger, faster, more often traveled. The narrower roads became less traveled, maybe a means to getting to the highway.

Gee, was it Jesus who said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it."? (Mark 7:13-14)

If we abide in Him, if we keep His commandments, He will give us our desires and we will abide in His love and we will have joy. That surely goes against the grain for some, many, those on the broad way. You mean I have to accept or act in accordance with (Webster), remain and sojourn with, be held by, await one and endure (Strong's Concordance) Jesus? That means accepting Him as my Lord and Savior. That means knowing Him, believing all He says, obeying His words, following Him, speaking of Him. What would my friends and family think? I'd be looked upon as weird. I wouldn't want that.

But so look at the promises if you do...when you know Him and ask according to His wishes (Oh, but there it's all about Him...yes, it is!) shall be done, according to His ways in His perfect time. (Oh, that's too one sided.) But if we abide in Him He will give us joy, even in the midst of crises...and there will be those. It's said often that even in Christ we will fall into various trials (James 1:2) but we can count it joy because it produces patience and if we endure we will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:3,12)

Jesus does have conditions. Because He, as God, knows better than we. He created us, knows our every need; not we have created ourselves and think we know what our greatest needs are. Sometimes I wish I had less. I've almost always had just about whatever I needed. I see others with less, who are in Christ, and they definitely live like they have more! I say that with a bit of envy and a lot of love.

I would love a simple life with fewer conveniences. And we all do have conveniences, even those with less. But what joy to be so totally content doing the simple things, enjoying the simplicity of a walk after dinner, a conversation or a game instead of television. The simple things.

Then there's the admonition to love Jesus, to love everyone...even our enemies which is difficult. Forgive them, for they know not what they do, Jesus pleaded to His Father, the one whom He obeyed, like we should. It is by our love that others come to Christ. But Jesus didn't sweeten His words...He still placed conditions...if you, you shall. But only IF.

We cannot believe without Christ all is well. We cannot believe our works get us to heaven. Truth is, none of us is ever good enough. We cannot live totally as we desire because then it's about us, not Him. Only Jesus is. He knows what we need and need to do. He tells us, if we, we shall. If we first accept Him, abide in Him, act in accordance with what He says, obey, remain in Him, follow Him to the end, despite the trials we go through...then and only then we will receive eternal life. There will be no eternal life without Jesus. That means eternal death in the Lake of Fire...and yes that is very is not a myth. There will be no eternal life if we think we can attain it on our own without Him.

Yes, it sounds pretty one-sided to only do as Jesus tells us, but look where He is today despite the adversities, the scoffing, His horrible death. He is at the right hand of His Father. He did this for us all. If we think we can live our own way without Him we fool ourselves. We must know Him. Then
we can be with Him someday if we make that decision to abide in Him today. So...what say you?  Will you admit you are a sinner? Will you confess to Him your sins? Will you allow Him to give you joy in the midst of trials, even if you were faced with being killed for following Christ and not giving in to another? Will you follow Him till the end and put up with friends and family scoffing?  It will be well worth the suffering in this momentary time on earth, for eternity in heaven.

1Peter 2:21 - For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an 
example, that you should follow His steps.

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