Because you love me
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 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. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
When I was a child, my mother would tell me to do something and occasionally (probably more often than occasionally) I would ask why. “Because I said so,” she would reply. When our son was young, my husband would use the same reasoning. The last time I heard him say it our son was eighteen and in college. I said, “I don’t think you can use that as a reason for compliance anymore.”
In today’s scripture, Jesus does not tell us to follow Him because He said so, but because we love Him. What a difference between the two approaches. The first is authoritarian. But the second approach used by Jesus simply says, “If you love me…”
It is one thing to receive Jesus as our Savior. Salvation is a wonderful free gift. When I was a child it freed me from the fear of going to Hell when I die. Now that I am much older salvation means so much more. Salvation frees me not from the penalty of some future existence, but it frees me to accomplish God’s work while I am still on this earth.
Salvation is merely the beginning of our journey. Once the Holy Spirit resides within us, we should think differently, act differently, and our behavior should reflect the God who lives within us.
Does the Holy Spirit live within you? Then you should walk in peace. Does the Holy Spirit guide your footsteps? Then you should walk in love. Do you recognize the love and mercy and grace God continues to pour out in your life? Then you should pour out love and mercy and grace upon each and every person you meet.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. The same God who created you has created a clean spirit within you. The same God who created the world will keep your spirit safe from the snares of a world now smothered in sin. As the Bill Gaither song says, “Because He lives you can face tomorrow, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”
PRAYER: Father, help us your children to do as you have commanded, not because of fear of punishment but simply because we love you. Help us to remember that the Holy Spirit lives within each one of us and we are empowered to live as you would have us live, to love as you would have us love, and to change the world one step at a time, one Christ follower at a time. Amen