March 6, 2018

By Rev. Elaine Cho, La Canada United Methodist Church, North District

John 15:9-11

As the Father has loved me, so I 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

A key to an ongoing relationship is to stay connected and to stay together. But “how” we stay together is even more important. In chapter 15 alone, the word “abide” (meno) appears 11 times. It must be pretty significant for Jesus to keep repeating the word! “Abiding” means to stay connected, depend on, and stick together. How? The way Jesus “abides” in His Father’s love was by keeping the word of his Father. That was how Jesus did it.

I’ve read a while ago that an average teenager sends and receives over 2,022 text messages a month. I wonder what if we had a relationship like that with our Bible. If we stayed in touch with God’s Word as often and persistently as we text and touch base with our friends, we’d have a much healthier relationship with God.

I am fortunate to have loving parents. When I was a child, I obeyed my parents who were pretty strict. My mother earned the nickname “tiger mom” five decades before the world heard of “The Tiger Mother” from Amy Chua. As a child, obedience took place because that was what we were “told” to do. As I grew up, I remained obedient not because I was “told” by my parents, but because I “love” my parents. My relationship with my parents is stronger and a more loving one because we “abide” together out of love and in love. There is no abiding apart from obedience!

Jesus’ life was marked by a total submission and obedience to the will of his Father. It is really love that causes us to follow someone. Love encourages obedience which in turn brings “joy” in relationships between parents and child. Happiness in life has more to do with relationships than anything else. Our most important relationship as Christians is with Jesus who said, “apart from me you can do nothing.”

Are you abiding in him? Is his joy in you?

Why not start with sending and receiving text messages with God from the Bible. Then, follow the instructions in the Bible until “joy” starts to well up in you.

Prayer: Loving Jesus, humble us to know that apart from you we are nothing. Grant your wisdom to know that joy of life is in being loved by you and loving you. Give us the simplicity of a child to obey the complexity of your Word. Amen.