Remain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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! (John 15:9-11)

Read: Matthew 9:27 – 10:42, Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-13, Luke 9:1-6

Relate: It was one of those beautiful days that come just as spring begins turning into summer. I didn’t have to be at work until later in the day and my plan was to lounge around the house reading, but it was just too nice to stay inside. There are plenty of benches and picnic tables at the local park just blocks away and I decided to avail myself of one of those so I grabbed a book and headed out.

At the far end of the park there was a class of kids playing but on my end there was only an older couple walking around. This older couple was probably in their mid seventies or so. Their age made what I saw so beautifully surprising. Most of the time they were walking hand in hand but at one point she let go and started walking a bit ahead. This older man got an evil grin on his face. He reached over, and pinched his wife right on the butt. She yelped and turned around with this stern look on her face, but then she reached over, grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss. Both book and jaw dropped.

By the time you get to the second chapter of the book of Hosea, the prophet’s wife had born him three children. Actually, she bore Hosea one child. The other two were illegitimate. She had gone from sleeping around on him to outright leaving him and going back to being a prostitute. As bad as being cuckolded would be in our time and culture, in Hosea’s time it was a hundred times more so. So what does Hosea say, “I am going to win her back. I will take her out into the wilderness and whisper sweet nothings in her ear. I will lavish her with gifts and she will give herself to me there as she did when she was young.” (Hosea 2:14-16)

In the book of Revelation the angel has a message for John to give to the church at Ephesus. He compliments them for their steady faithfulness. They have remained doctrinally pure and endured hard times faithfully. Still he has a complaint. They have lost their first love. Their love for God isn’t very… passionate. The angel, however, offers a cure. Do the things you did at first. Actually, the word used is ergon which is almost always is translated as “deed” or “work”. It refers to a required job or task that needs to be accomplished.

React: I’m sure part of Hosea didn’t really “want” to take his unfaithful wife on a weekend getaway into the woods to win her back. It was a chore. God called him to love her and to keep loving her no matter how unfaithful she was. Obedience to God cost him his reputation and the respect of his peers. Yet he did it. He won her love. Then, he won her love again. The church at Ephesus probably didn’t want to do those “tasks” they did at first. If they did, the angel probably would have used a different word than “chore” to describe those works, but to win back their love, they had to do the work. I certainly didn’t want to see an old couple making out in public. Wait, that’s a different story. The thing is, they’re still doing the things you would expect a teenage couple to be doing. It is no surprise that decades later they are still passionately in love. They’re still doing the things, the works, that got them in love in the first place.

Jesus said, “When you obey me, you remain in my love.” He isn’t saying, “Do what you’re supposed to do and I’ll keep loving you.” It is a proven fact that emotions will follow your actions. If you’re in a bad mood, start smiling. Your attitude will change pretty quick. If your faith seems all dried up, start praising God. It will come back. If you feel far from Him, start doing those things we define as following. You’ll be surprised how quick He’s right there again. If you want to stay in love with God… obey Him.

Respond: 

God, I come to You again. Sometimes I feel like my walk is more of a stutter step then a steady more. I make a few quick steps and then I pause. I get distracted. I am wooed away by the false beauty of so many other things in this world. Forgive me. Help me to keep my gaze on You. Help me to keep my focus on You. Help me to continue to faithfully and steadily keep doing those things that please Your heart. I don’t ever want to be anywhere else except completely and totally in love with You.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Remain

  1. BJ, rarely do I feel the urge to challenge your thinking – and hope I am not undermining a great post with this comment. Because the doing of love – even when the doing is without much passion – is certainly a very wise observation. Not the theme or the post.

    Simply that another “attitude” went through my head as I read your prayer. Sometimes think we take this God stuff too seriously – it’s “all or nothing” – and for those days when a step backwards or sideways undermines my faith in my “faith” we could all do with stepping back. And this post popped up:

    http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2014/10/09/its-just-a-dance/

    ” … someone who figures that taking a step backwards after a step forwards is not a disaster, it’s more like a cha-cha.”

    Long haul relationship includes getting “an evil grin” on your face! 🙂

  2. BJ what a great post. I get it. For me its like you can come and talk to God or you can come and have a relationship.Relationships takes a purposeful effort on our part. We have to make a conscious effort to connect. The old man was connecting no burned out fire here. Coming back to or first love.You know God is a jealous God.

    Much love Tom

  3. BJ – thank you so much for this beautiful reminder to me this morning to remain in God and with God, intuned to God all throughout my day. I almost skipped morning quiet time today to pursue business – so glad this popped up in my email. This song and performance has my heart smiling and love filled with my Savior. Thank you!

  4. Staying in love with God – Yeah, I so get this, B.J. For me, it’s not about the “doing,” it’s about just sitting in my favorite chair watching His hummingbirds flit from flower to flower, or getting up early enough to watch His sun rise. It is like a cha-cha, remembering that He has already forgiven those back steps; He waits with extended hand waiting for you to place yours in His to walk forward again.

  5. Hi BJ,
    Thank you for your post! I especially liked your insight: “If your faith seems all dried up, start praising God.” It’s so true! If we always wait to praise God until we FEEL like praising God, we will not be giving Him the honor that He is due. When we praise God is spite of how we feel, it uplifts our hearts and encourages us in our walk.
    Thanks again for the reminder!
    Blessings,
    Crystal

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s