“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than 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 slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:9-17)
I sometimes become a bit arrogant or uppity with the “over-use” of sermons and workshops and events and programs all about how we need to love. Part of this may be founded rightly because many are missing a key component of the whole charge to love, but I really should start striving to be less cynical.
I mean, look at the insistency, repetitiveness and importance of this entire paragraph! Jesus is very insistent in how and why we should “remain in His love.” Not only so but how imperative to our souls and the Kingdom of God that we practice intense love, so intense to the point that it is compared to Jesus’ and the Father’s very own displays of love for us.
Now to mention the one key element I think is often overlooked in discussions on the importance of loving – the part that comes up over and over in the entire Bible if you really pay attention and don’t paraphrase in such a way that re-defines key phrases. That we are charged to love EACH OTHER – other Christians. Galatians 6:10 and John 13:35, with each of their distinct distinctions, probably say it best:
“Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” (Galatians)
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John)