As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 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. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:9-11)
We like the disciples, are called to love each other. When we love each other, we will experience the joy of obeying God.
When we love one another, we also allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and grow in us. How it grows will depend on our connection to each other, to God and to His church. The stronger our faith, the more we will do, and it is the things that we do for God and for others that bring glory to God and strengthen the Holy Spirit within us.
Love for others means being willing to die for others. Jesus showed His love for us by dying on the cross for our sins. Think about the men and women who serve in our military and the type of love they show for others. They and the countless others who served in WW1, WW2, the Korean War and the more recent conflicts and peace keeping missions, who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of others. If Jesus could lay down His own life for us, what part of our lives can we give up for others — prejudice, unwillingness to help, envy, material goods, hatred, unwillingness to forgive, or even something else?
God wants us to have relationships that are more than mediocre. Relationship-building takes time and requires compassion, wisdom, empathy, kindness, courtesy and forgiveness. We can’t overlook what taking concrete action can mean. We can however, be active in love for one another. It is a lot of work, and that’s fine because God knows that we can do this work, and he knows that what we do will enrich both our lives and the lives of those whom we serve. When we love one another, we act as God’s hands and feet to those that He puts in our lives. It does take time effort and money to be an active friend, but the blessings outweigh the costs.
Loving others as God loved us is what we are called to do and is the heart of discipleship. Christian life can only exist through human relationships, especially when they are based on mutual respect humane values including love.
When we love one another, we fulfill the second of Jesus’ two Great Commandments. When we love Jesus, he becomes our true best friend. Friends have our best interests in mind, just like Jesus does. Friends will be with us in good times and bad, just like Jesus is. They help us to expand our world, expose us to new and creative possibilities and sustain us when we are in need.
God has chosen all of us for the purpose of bearing much fruit and given us characteristics as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These characteristics will grow within us and help us when we tell others about Jesus and lead them into a fruitful relationship with him.
We can say that Jesus is our friend, but can we say that we are his friend? Do we listen to him when he speaks to us, or do we only want him to listen to us? Do we want to know what’s on his heart and mind, or do we only want to tell him what’s on ours? Being a true friend of Jesus means listening to what he wants to tell us and then using that information to do his work in our world and in our lives.