Pastor’s Weekly Reflections

“Living in Christ”

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments….21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him…. 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. ” John 14:15,21,23].

My attention is called to the fact that in the space of 8 verses of this 14th chapter of John, Jesus affirms three times this same essential Christian truth: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” And if we include chapters 15-16 of John and John’s epistles, one will discover this is stressed more than twice as many times. This should alert the reader to the critical nature of our love for Christ.

A second insight that the Holy Spirit has underscored to me recently is the inseparable relationship between our love for Jesus and our obedience to His commands or will. It seems safe to affirm that the only proper evidence of my love for Jesus is my obedience to His will as defined by His commandments. Our discipleship is based upon our willingness to “…. deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.”                                 How can I say I love Jesus while at the same time, I want to live my own life? Or maybe we should express this in another way; that our continued love for Christ prevents our disobedience to His will.

1 John 3:24 opens another vital aspect of our relationship with Jesus Christ: “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” Living in obedience to God’s commands is the foundation for God to live in us. And we know that God is living in us by the presence of His Spirit in our hearts and minds.

Paul understood this indwelling presence of God as the ultimate objective of our relationship with Him when he wrote in Colossians 1:27, “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Does Christ live in you? If you are keeping His commandments and His Spirit lives in you, God is indwelling in your life.

—Written by Rev. Ivan L. Schwenn, 2019