“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love” (John 15:9).
This verse falls right after the section in John about the vine and the branches, which tells us we are under the care of God the Father. He is cultivating us, pruning us, directing our growth, and all of that comes out of our connection to Jesus, the Vine. He imbues us with life which allows us to bear fruit. Without that connection we are dead, useless.
I am struck by this verse because I often get stuck in my head, making time in the Word more intellectual than emotional. While intellectual study has its place, what Jesus did for me and continues to do for me is intimate and personal. To remain in his love, there is an expectation of my needs being met in him and through him. Going to the lesser things is not what brings me life, joy, or fruit. But that is my temptation. I want to be self-sufficient and strong. Time and again, I see how great my need for Jesus is, but I need the reminder to remain in him, to trust his strength, to trust his perfect provision.
When I became a mom to my first child, I was proud. I felt competent as a mother. My daughter, as a baby, was easy going, slept a lot, and had a good routine. I felt like I could handle life. Then I had my son. He was the opposite. He didn’t sleep. He resisted routine. I felt like a disaster and was so aware of my need for help, both from God to sustain me through the day and from others. It was humbling, and it brought a certain peace because no longer did I deceive myself into thinking I could go it alone. Jesus, the source of my strength, was also my very life.
I look back at that time as a reminder when I feel like I can do my life on my own. I’m weaker than I think, but I am grafted onto the Vine that is life and strength and fruit. As I remain in his love, he is at work in me.