So now that this semester is over, I am feeling so spoiled because I get to sit with my Father and dwell in His Word for a sweet, long time. The Spirit has been teaching me so much, and I can't help but share one of the things He's revealed to me!
I have been dwelling in, meditating on, and wondering over John 14. Even as I type the reference, there is so much I want to share! Maybe I will give a little glimpse so the Spirit may spark interest for deeper reflection.
In the first verse, Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." He uses this same command in v. 27. What is in between these two that give insight into how to keep this command? Our Lord never separates His commands from His character or gospel truth.
Another thought - if Jesus says "And I will do whatever you ask in my Name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my Name, and I will do it," in v. 13-14, why are we not asking???
But here is what I would love to camp out on - the lesson in v. 28.
"You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I."
After reading through this a couple of times, I began to wonder about it. John 14 is right in the midst of what is called the "Upper Room Discourse." John's Gospel records the lengthiest section on Jesus' last night with His disciples. Jesus is sharing with them what is about to happen to Him and how they should live for Him, by the power of the coming Spirit, even after He is gone.
So there is absolutely no doubt that the disciples are distraught that the Man they have followed for 3 years is about to die. How could they not be? But Jesus says, "If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father…" I can just hear the disciples say, "IF we loved you??? Are you kidding? That's why we are so distraught! We don't want you to leave, nor do we understand why you have to. We are grief-stricken because of our love for you!"
But Jesus' words are true. He cannot lie. So as hard as it is to understand it, if they did love Him, they would be glad for Him. This. Rocks. Me. How many times do I think I am loving, but I am really being selfish or fearful - both of which I'm sure the disciples were feeling.
But Jesus, the source of all truth and grace gives them both to lovingly get them to take their eyes off of themselves that they might find truth, life, freedom, and comfort. He lovingly gives them His perspective.
I think these things are key in being able to love fully. 1 John 4:18 declares that "Perfect love casts out fear." I shared recently on my instagram that the Lord has graciously opened my eyes to the "pretty" fears that motivate me to action - an action which I call love. I'm sure most of you can relate. When my husband is down about something, my first instinct has been to uplift him with the truth. "God has perfect timing! He is teaching you something right now. Wait upon Him!" These things are great truths, and mostly when I share them with others, they come from a pure heart. But the Lord revealed to me that when I share them with him, they are intertwined with fear - fear that if I don't encourage him or remind him, he will forget; fear that he will grow down in spirit and forget about loving me; fear that he will stop running to the Lord for comfort and truth; the list goes on. The Lord revealed how I was playing Holy Spirit in his life and choosing not to trust Him and His work. As He revealed this, a huge burden was lifted, and I deeply repented of trying to be God. What a humbling, humbling thing.
As you can see, selfishness is intermingled with all my fears. That's why I love what Jesus does here. He takes their thoughts away from themselves and casts them on Him. His perspective is what is needed. When I saw that I was trying to do things that only God can do, I saw how futile they were apart from His power and prompting. When I saw that our Father loves and wants these things for my husband WAY more than I do, I felt freedom to love. (And that love may be sometimes saying the same things! But with a pure heart.) When I know that the same Spirit at work in me is at work in Him, I wonder in amazement and let go of those fears holding me captive. When my cares are cast upon my Lord, I know that He listens to me, works according to His good purpose, and gives me freedom to pray according to that purpose and love the way He loves. When I can see from His perspective, I find truth, life, freedom, and comfort.
When I see from His perspective, I can actually love.
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe." Ephesians 1:18-19a