John 14:15-21 (NIV2011) – “If you love me, keep my commands.”
Christ has established that loving Him and keeping His commandments are essential to being a true disciple of Christ. The meaning of this phrase “If you love me” usually implies that the “other” party in a relationship needs some tangible proof of your affection. Our mere thoughts about how we love Jesus and what He has done for us are not enough. How can we prove our love for Him?
We see others working very hard to love Jesus, but by their own standards.
They deny themselves and make great sacrifices. They forsake all others even those who are of the household of faith. They show their love by building great edifices and setting rules for people to join. They create rules that welcome people but do not include them. Our religious denominational structure has almost made belonging to church seem like belonging to an exclusive club. This is loving Jesus.
Sometimes we even fall into this trap but not necessarily by choice. We do want to please Jesus and we do want to be obedient, but it is impossible to please him without having faith in Him. Do we really believe who He is and is that belief predicated on knowing Him personally or hearsay?
Jesus does not demand that any of us change to know Him. He says come as you are. But He does not stop being Jesus for you to come. He does not change. When change really does take place, it is in us because we want the best out of the relationship and are willing to do whatever is necessary to please Jesus. True love means obeying because you love Him. “If you love me, you will do what I ask out of love.”
Is this too much for Jesus to ask of us? After all, we are just human, born in iniquity and shaped in sin. What does He expect? One might say that it is impossible and it is – “humanly impossible”; but, spiritually, it is possible because He is the One who makes the impossible possible. For us, this dilemma of love and obedience has been taken care of by Jesus. He has given us His Spirit.
The Intercessor Christ
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
He promises to send “another” advocate or Counselor or Comforter. The Greek word parakletos carries an abundance of meanings. Jesus promises to leave not only the three but a Helper, Friend, Ally, Intercessor, Adviser, and Strengthener. He uses the word “another” but that word in the Greek means “another of the same kind”. In other words, He is sending someone just like Him. This time, however, the one who is coming will abide with the disciples and within them. The one called the Holy Spirit.
Here we see several dualisms: Time existing in eternity; Spirit dwelling in flesh; and faith in uncertainty. Jesus does not remove what exists but introduces a way to understand the duality of the Christian existence. We cannot truly love Him if we do not know Him and we cannot know Him if we do not let the Holy Spirit be a part of our earthly lives. He is not to be received in the by and by, but He is to be received in this time so that eternity will become our new reality in the by and by.
Jesus promises His disciples that I will leave but I will not leave you orphans. You will not be alone because I will send the Spirit. He will be with you forever. In the flesh, I could not be with you, but by my Spirit, you now live in two dimensions. You have a dual citizenship – one here on earth and one in heaven.
A personal relationship with Jesus is only possible through the Holy Spirit. “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
Jesus makes provisions for that by sending the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we can become too comfortable living in just the earthly realm. Yet, the hard things of this life’s journey will turn us to a helper that is far bigger than anything we will encounter on this earth. That helper is the Holy Spirit.
It helps when we remember that He came to rescue us from the bondage of sin and eternal death. Jesus gave up Himself that we might receive this gift of God. So, shouldn’t the Holy Spirit be a noticeable part of our lives? How will we know for sure that we have received? A tree is known by the fruit that it bears. Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life?
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a Christian according to Paul the Apostle in his Letter to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Is there genuine love for Jesus Christ in your heart?
Do you want the will and way of the Lord to govern your life?
Are you willing to live in a way that the things of the Lord come first? It really is not that hard. When you say yes in your heart, the Holy Spirit is present and will begin His work in and through you so that the kingdom of heaven will be seen in you on earth. To believe in God is to believe in Jesus and to believe in Jesus is to believe in the Holy Spirit whom He has sent to be His very presence in our lives.
If the Holy Spirit continues to be the forgotten, unspoken of member of the Godhead, it is not possible for anyone to know God; salvation will be just more religious rhetoric. Receive the Holy Spirit today and be made whole.