John 15:9–17 (NIV)
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now abide in my love. If you keep my commands, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and abide in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
I want to point out a holy serendipity discovered just this week. It is fitting as we turn toward the harvest stretch of this agrarian awakening journey. Remember my playful poem from weeks back? I’ll remind you.
Leaves and roots,
Flower and fruits,
Next let’s remember the markers of the awakening journey. Awareness. Attention. Attunement. Attachment. Affection. Abiding. Abandonment.
Now let’s watch how they beautifully coalesce in pairings.
The Awareness of the Seed
The Attention to the Shoot
The Attunement of the Leaves
The Attachment to the Roots
The Affection of the Flowers
The Abiding and the Fruits
The Abandonment of the Seeds
And back to the ground go the seeds.
We will finish out this awakening journey together with a nine day celebration of the harvest. The fruit of the Spirit comes from the Spirit-filled, graced way of abiding. For the longest time I counted nine fruits. Then I realized the text referencing this metaphor uses the singular “fruit.” See for yourself:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23a)
The fruit of the Spirit is love—agape love to be precise. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control are like the facets on the many faceted diamond of love.
Notice the movement of our text today. We see the word love nine times over these nine verses. The only word that appears more in the chapter is our watchword, abide. At eleven times this is exceptional and the connection could not be more clear.
The great commandment is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love. The very nature and name of God is love. There is nothing higher, more noble, more powerful, more transformative, more transcendent, more humble, and more Godlike than love.
John Wesley, the progenitor of the Methodist movement and the great English awakening put it this way:
“It were well you should be thoroughly sensible of this: the heaven of heavens is love. There is nothing higher in religion: there is, in effect, nothing else. If you look for anything but more love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way, and when you are asking others, “Have you received this or that blessing?” if you mean anything but more love, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent.”
Wake up, sleeper! Love is not a soft and fluffy, warm and fuzzy thing. It is the most solid and durable reality in the universe. It is the very nature and name of God. It is the highest calling worthy of all of our lives.
Father Farmer God, something deep within us doesn’t want it to be about love. We want it to be about power, about triumph, about winning, about morality, even about great awakening. It just feels too soft and mushy to be about love. Yet You have made everything in heaven and on earth about the very reality at the core of who you are: love—holy love. Lord Jesus, would you heal our broken hearts by your love in such a way that love is who we become. Indeed, your nature and your name is love. Would that it be so for us. So fill us with the Holy Spirit until everything that is not love is pressed out and nothing but love remains. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.
Do you wish it were about something else besides love? Do you still believe it is? Why? Are you ready to align your whole life to this revealed reality of the love of God—the miraculous fruit of the Holy Spirit?
THE HYMN (We sing on the Recording)
Today we will sing the gospel standard, “O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus” on page #121 of our newly released Seedbed hymnal Our Great Redeemer’s Praise.
P.S. Quick Question: Are you interested?
So I’m considering teaching a short (3 Monday night) course in January (9, 16, 23) 6–7:30pm CST. The course will be called How to Read the Bible with Jesus. It will be a next level exploration of the Word of God and the Word made Flesh with some helpful frameworks and practical approaches to this most essential book in the history of history. I’ll share how I read and work with Scripture along the way. Please take TWO MINUTES and respond to this TWO QUESTION interest survey so we can better discern if this is where Jesus is leading.
For the Awakening,