Friday, June 5, 2009

Filling Our Home with Love ~ John 15:1-17

While the fruit of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5, I believe that the foundation of Spiritual fruit is found in John 15. This is where Jesus sets up the analogy of Himself as the Vine and us (Christians) as the branches that ought to be bearing much fruit. But, He makes it very clear that we don't just bear fruit of our own will. Much like salvation, this comes from the Lord alone. Without Christ we can do nothing (vs.5).

I have read this passage of Scripture to my kids several times and have impressed on them that the most important words in the passage are, "abide in Me." Jesus uses this phrase five times in verses 4-7 and then uses the phrase, "abide in My love" twice in verses 9 and 10. We are to abide in Christ by keeping His commands (vs. 10), in short, by loving the Lord with every part of our being and loving others as we love ourselves (Mt. 22:37-39). Jesus promises that when we abide in Him in this way, when we pray and ask God to help us to bear more fruit, He will (vs.7).

In order to fill my home with love, I must be abiding in Christ, seeking to love the Lord and love others in all I do. When I set to work to do this, and couple it with prayer that God will help me to show my husband and children unconditional love, He will fill me with His love till it flows out all over my home. Isn't that exciting! And simple!

In verse 12, however, Jesus begins giving us more practical applications of how to love others -- how to show this unconditional love to others. He begins by instructing us to love others as He loves us (unconditionally) and explains in verse 13 that we do this by laying down our lives (our wants, our "rights", and even our needs) for the sake of others. We can also do this by sharing with others what the Lord is teaching us and what He is doing in our lives (vs. 15). And, just to wrap it all neatly back around, we show Christ-like unconditional love by heeding Christ's commands to abide in Him and love others as He loves us (vs. 17). Again, so simple.

So, as I seek to fill my home with the fruit of unconditional love, I begin willingly putting my desires, my supposed "rights", and even my needs on the backburner when my husband or children need me. That translates into opting for Cincinnati chili when I really wanted spaghetti and meatballs, listening with patience when a little one barges into the bathroom to tell me a story, and gently kissing that crying baby in the middle of the night when I am so exhausted that I feel like breaking down and crying too.

Next, I take every opportunity to share with my husband and children what God is doing in my life. I tear down the walls of self-protection and reveal my weaknesses -- where God is at work in me. By doing this, I free them to share back without fear of condemnation.

And, lastly, I simply make every effort ot abide in Christ and His love, and to show that love to my family. Then I pray and watch God work.

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