John 15:9 ““As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”
We make it so much harder than it needs to be, don’t we? We strive to be good, to do the right things, to love others well, and to figure out what it is that this one life of ours is supposed to look like.
We feel the weight of religion, relationships, expectation, significance, and meaning almost like they are heavy weights on our shoulders.
What are we supposed to be doing? How are we supposed to be doing it? Who are we supposed to be doing it with? Why are we supposed to be doing it? And how on earth are we supposed to get it done?
These are questions we often have rolling around in our minds. After a year filled with so many unknowns, unmet longings, and unprecedented changes, we raise our eyes to Heaven and search for answers to the who, what, where, when, why, and how that we see looming on the horizon.
“What am I supposed to do now?”
It’s the age old question that we ask ourselves. If we’re honest, many of us feel a certain responsibility to know the answer and to boldly move towards it.
We make our resolutions, set our goals, and fill our planners in an effort to do this well. And that’s great. It is a good thing to make resolutions, set goals, and be organized and purposeful in our
approach to how we live our lives.
But what if it is much easier than we think? What if it isn’t as hard or heavy as we make it?
What if aligning ourselves with God’s plan for our lives is simpler than we could have ever imagined?
I think it might be because in God’s upside down Kingdom, things usually are vastly different than we think. The least is greatest, the humble inherit the earth, the last become first, and the chief of sinners receives the most grace. It just makes sense that it wouldn’t be all about our own effort, but about what God does on our behalf.
After all, His greatest gift, salvation, isn’t earned but freely given.
Doesn’t it seem like living a full and abundant life wouldn’t be about striving and frantically
working our own plan, but trusting and resting in His?
Listen to these selections from John 15:3-5, 9-10, and 16. “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the
branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love…. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
In these verses from John 15, Jesus calls us to “remain in Him “ and “remain in His love” over and over again. Why? Because we know that as believers, the greatest commandment is to love God with our whole self and to love one another. That’s His goal, His resolution, and His perfect plan for our lives.
Our part is simple. We remain in Him and remain in His love.
We stay close. We spend time with Him. We talk with Him and get in His word. We let His love infiltrate every inch of ourselves and our lives, and when it does, it changes us from the inside out. We align with His plan for us by just remaining there, soaking up His love and letting it overflow out of us.
Our work isn’t to frantically strive, but to remain with Him and to remain in His love. He doesn’t ask us to get under the weight of it all, He does the heavy lifting.
He changes us. He makes the plans and established the purposes. He opens and closes the doors. He
makes a way. We just remain in Him and in His love. And we trust and rest that in His love, He will work out His good plan for us.
So, don’t shoulder a burden you weren’t intended to carry. Don’t get so overwhelmed by setting the best goal, or laying out the most perfect plan that you feel weighted down and find yourself striving to do it all on your own. Just focus on remaining in Him and remaining in His love. I believe He’s got the rest under control.
Father, God, Help us to trust and rest in you. We want to let go of striving and find peace that we can align with your perfect plan by remaining in you and in your love. You don’t ask us to carry the heavy burden of a perfectly laid plan. You have a perfect plan for us, you are for us, and you are faithful to finish what you start. We believe that and thank you for it.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.