“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15:9-11
“First time , all the way.” It’s a great phrase Dr. Dennis and Elsie Kinlaw used in teaching their children to obey the first time they were asked to do something and to obey completely. (We all know the frustration of being with children who don’t listen.) A mom requires complete and total obedience not because she is a mean ogre, but because she knows what is best for her child, which comes from her heart of love.
It’s the same with Jesus. I find it interesting and inviting that in the above scripture Jesus commands us to remain in His love. He doesn’t command us to obey, but instructs us that obeying Him is how we make our home in His love.
Intimacy in any relationship is based on trust and openness. The more we trust, the more open we are, and the more we let the others in. Then, if they demonstrate their trustworthiness and love (and vice versa), the more we open and trust, and intimacy deepens. We experience this growing intimacy with Jesus as we hear from Him through His Word or the nudging of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and then out of our love for Jesus, we obey Him. We often need His help, which He loves to give. As we yield ourselves to Jesus 100% and experience His Spirit enabling us to obey, we know the joy of Him living His life through us, which causes us to trust Him more (and Him to trust us more), and our intimacy deepens. As a result we are filled with His overflowing joy! Jesus says that’s the whole point. He wants us to know His joy, which is only experienced as we remain in His love as we give Him our love through obedience – “first time, all the way.”
Think of your own life. When have you obeyed Him and known the sweetness of His presence and His joy? Is there any place in your life where you are not obeying Him fully?