John 15:8-11

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just a I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoke to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.

Reflection – Doug Bradle

What I hear when I read this scripture is that if I abide in Jesus’ love for me I will be enabled to keep the Father’s commandments, and if I keep His commandments, then I will abide in His love. For most of my life after salvation, I somehow thought that keeping God’s commandments was an act of self-will. If I just followed the rules and gave the appearance of being a solid Christian, all would be well. However, the pretense did not work. All was not well inside of me even though I wore a pretty convincing mask. I kept asking myself what was missing. It was as if God was in the next motel room…I could hear Him speaking, but I could not make out what He was saying. It was utterly frustrating.

In the last few years, I have come to understand that before I attempt to take the speck from my brother’s eye I had better take the plank out of mine! I must see clearly before I can help anyone. So even after I was saved (and I know I was saved), I had no one to show me how to remove the plank. The good news is that God lead me to group of people who showed me how to get rid of the plank and discovered how delightful life is without that doggone plank following me around! What I had failed to see were my own shortcomings, how I hurt other people and how I constantly demanded that the world be the way I wanted it. When I confessed to my Father, to myself and to a very close friend the nature of my wrongs, only then was I in a position to receive God’s full grace. Of myself, I cannot keep the commandments nor abide in my Savior’s love. It is only through His Spirit in me that I can partake in that love and only in the strength He imparts to me that I can keep His commandments.