When was the last time you were deeply in love? What did that feel like for you?
When I go to weddings, I typically look at the groom when the bride is coming down the aisle. Don’t worry, I turn to look at the bride as well. After all, she’s walking really slow so you’ve got time to catch a glimpse of both. The reason I look at the groom, especially if that is his first look, is because there’s an overwhelming emotion of joy. He can’t look anywhere else. He can’t help but smile. Or even cry. When Erin arrived at the aisle, Etta James burst into “At last…my love has come along.” Three years later, my eyes still dampen when I hear that song and think of Erin walking towards me.
I love hearing the stories of parents when they see their child for the first time. The love they never knew they could even feel just grew deeper as they held their newborn. Every new parent has expressed that they didn’t know they could love that much till they held their baby for the first time. I like to remind them that their children will cost about $233,000 to raise to the age of 18 and will be the greatest source of pain they will experience during their teenage years. Nevertheless, people still keep having kids. Why? Love.
Love is powerful.
When you are in love, you can overcome anything. You’re willing to go through anything.
God knew we were going to break his heart when he created us. Why did he do it anyway? Love. Jesus knew he was going to be abandoned and left alone to die but he did it anyway. Why? Love.
In John 15, Jesus says, “I AM the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…I AM the vine; you are the branches.” He then invites us to remain in him. To abide in him. To rest in his love. When you know how deeply you are loved, you can do anything. When you know how deeply you are loved, you can endure anything. When you know how deeply you are loved, you have the amazing ability to extend that love to others. When you know how deeply you are loved, you become comfortable in your own skin and transform into the person you are called to be. When you know how deeply you are loved, bask in that love, find peace and joy in that love, you begin to bear fruit.
When we think about bearing fruit we typically think about evangelism and converting people. I don’t think that’s Jesus’ direct point. What Jesus is saying in John 15 is this: when you know I love you and abide in my love, you will grow more and more into the person you are called to be. This doesn’t stop with you as an individual though. When you grow as the person I’ve called you to be, you’re going to love your Brothers and Sisters in this Family. The world is going to hate you but that’s ok, they hated me first. Just know that my love for you is sufficient. Just in case you need a reminder of my love, I’m sending you the Holy Spirit to dwell in you. Get to know the Spirit and he’ll testify to my love for you.
I want to love Jesus the way that a groom looks at his bride. I want to love Jesus in the way that a parent holds a newborn. I want to have times with Jesus where I walk away knowing that I am deeply loved so that I can then share that love with others. Honestly, I’m not there yet but I want to get there!
What will you do this week to make sure you are connected to the true vine?