Joy and the Christian Life, Pt. 6 – Good Works and The Love of Christ
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. – John 15:9-11
Do Christians need to do good works? Yes! Christians must and should do good works. As a matter of fact, this is our obligation, responsibility, and duty as Christians. Not to merit or pay for our salvation or forgiveness, but because this is God’s will for us.
But here the Christian comes to face a difficulty. He sets out to follow the instruction and teachings of Jesus, to pray, to read, to love, and to reach-out to the unsaved. All is well while he is doing these things, as a matter of fact he is filled with joy. But one-day he starts to become inconsistent. Instead of waking up with joy he wakes up with despair. He feels that God is not pleased with him. He begins to wonder if he has become legalistic. What has he forgotten?
In John 15:9-11, Jesus speaks of His love for them, His desire for them to keep his commandments, and His desire for them to be filled with His joy. Every Christian starts in this way. We come to know the love of Christ for us. We set out to keep His commandments. And we experience the joy of living a life pleasing to our Lord. But sadly when we become inconsistent and joy turns to despair we flip everything around. From our despair we try to keep His commandments to receive His love once again. And of course, this becomes simply a cycle of despair.
What is the solution? Is there a solution? Yes, There is! Don’t reverse or flip the cycle! Go back to the beginning! In vs9, Jesus says ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.‘ How has the Father loved the Son? We may say this, the Father has loved the Son with a love unlike any other, a love of pleasure and delight, a love without beginning and without end, an eternal unchanging love. And Jesus says ‘so have I loved you.‘ He has loved you with a love of pleasure and delight, a love from eternity and without end, a love which will never change! Wow! This is the foundation! When we become inconsistent we must not flip everything around. Instead we must go back to the foundation. We must go back to the great truth of Jesus’ love for us. And from that foundation we once again start to follow His instruction and know the joy of living a life pleasing to Him. I will say it again, never flip things around. Instead always stand on the unchanging great deep eternal love which Jesus has for you. And from that foundation begin to follow His instruction and commandments.
Are you in the cycle of despair? Know that Jesus loves you so much!