How do we walk in Kingdom realities? Pray harder? Study the Bible more? Worship more? Live in a state of revival? All these things are important tools but God’s Kingdom realities come through one way—by remaining in His love. As I said last time, love is all that will remain in the end of all things. This is the ultimate reality because it’s the Kingdom reality.
If you’ve been here for awhile, you know my life verse(s) is John 15:9-12. This is because it’s where I draw my life in Christ from. As my friend, Mark Hendrickson would say, this is my “entrance ramp” onto God’s Kingdom highway. Let’s look at this more closely.
Early in the same chapter of John, Jesus said this:
3 The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. 4 So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. (John 15:3-4 TPT*)
We see first that this passage is for followers of Christ—those already cleansed by Him. But fruitfulness is tied to remaining in life-union with Jesus. This isn’t talking about salvation but about our ongoing relationship with Jesus.
A fruitful Christian life only comes as we remain in union with Him; a totally fruitless one is living it without abiding in this union.
Next, let’s look at my life verses to see how we stay in this life-union:
9 “I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. 10 If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. 11 My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!
12 “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. (John 15:9-12 TPT*)
First, everything starts with receiving God’s love for us. If you don’t believe that God loves you exactly the same as He loves Himself, you won’t be able to even get started on this path.
How much does God love God? Think about that for a moment….
What I do first is open my heart to God’s love for me. I think about how much the Father loves Jesus so that I can get an idea of how He loves me. God is love, and His love is infinite and unfathomable! Furthermore, He loves me (and you) so much that He gave Himself through His Son (John 3:16). This means that the Father values you the same as He values Himself.
In other words, an infinitely loving God gave the One He infinitely loves because He infinitely loves you and me!
We have no mental grid for “infinite love,” so saying this may not be helpful here. But we do know what love looks like in the life of Jesus, and we also know the attributes of love that I elaborated on in “This is what Love (actually) looks like.” So when I think about how God loves me, I think in these terms.
Second, we’re told to remain in His love (NIV), or as it says here: “You must continually let my love nourish your hearts.” I must make this my priority. My primary life’s focus is learning how to be loved by God!
Why should I devote so much of my efforts this way? Jesus answers that question for us this way:
“so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!”
How much effort would it be worth to you to be constantly filled with His joy and overflowing gladness?
This means I must learn how to keep my heart open to His love—I’m to walk in it, meditate on it, and continually receive and reciprocate it. And, over time, this will build a bigger heart capacity for receiving more of His love.
Here’s what I’ve learned about this: you can have as much of God as you want. So, here’s a heart check: how much do you want?
Receiving God’s love is like opening a spigot valve in the middle of an endless ocean. The more you open your heart (the valve), the more of His love rushes in and through you (the faucet), which overflows out of you and back to Him (the endless ocean).
Repeat the process.
Your capacity to receive His love will be dependent on how much you have learned how to open your heart to Him. The more you do it, the bigger your heart capacity will become.
The third thing we should see here is that remaining in and being nourished by His love is how we obey Jesus. This is how Jesus obeyed the Father:
“as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. “
Finally, from continually participating in this heart overflow, I’m to let this same love overflow onto others. I’m to love you exactly the same way I’m being loved by God (again, how much is that?). This is Jesus’ commandment:
12 “So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you.”
Beloved, this is how we walk in Kingdom realities, because the Kingdom of God runs on this cooperative process—receiving and reciprocating God’s other-centered, self-giving love. As Paul said:
3 But if a person passionately loves God, he will possess the knowledge of God. (1 Cor.8:3 TPT)
If you want walk in His Kingdom now and have fruit that remains, learn this life lesson.