John 15: 11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.”
I’ve often wondered: How do I know that I believe in God, in Jesus Christ, in eternity, the presence of the Kingdom of God and so on? If I say the words “I believe” does that make it so? Or if I do my best to live an honest/upright life following all the moral precepts of Jesus - does that make it so? How about if I am religiously devout in reading, praying and worshiping? Does that really give me any ‘proof’ that I believe?
And further, will any of these things give me a sense of peace or joy that is promised by Jesus? Saying, “I believe” is a good starting place to define myself as not just ‘me’ but ‘me with God’; and acting out my life with honesty and moral purpose is obviously all good; and finally, being devout in reading, praying and worshiping - again all good things that help to keep me on God’s path.
But, do any of these things by themselves or taken together, prove my faith or more importantly, give me any deep and abiding sense of belonging to God or to the peace and fulfillment that comes from that mysterious relationship?
I think not - and from this verse from John 15 it strikes me that Jesus certainly knew that. I believe He knew that the only way we could find a relationship with Him that brought joy, completeness, peace and harmony with ourselves, other’s and God; the only way to gain that in our lives was to love as he loved by laying down our lives for others, especially our friends (and family I would add). Living this way assures us that we live in relationship with God and experience his love deep within our soul. Living this way confirms to ourselves the core both of who we are and who we want to be. It’s the proof of our belief and relationship with God, and while not always the easiest path to live on, is certainly the path of deep and abiding peace.
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.” John 15: 11