Sunday, August 14, 2016

Love: The Command 2 (John 15:9-17)

Love and Joy v11

Contrary to our modern perspective, obedience—surrendering to the Lordship of Christ—is not a dreary life. Jesus tells His disciples that this truth is for their joy. That does not mean a carefree life of emotional bliss, though. What we see of Jesus in Scripture involved a lot of grief. Yet true joy occurs in spite of temporary emotions, or even in the face of suffering. True joy is found in purpose and meaning. Our true purpose and meaning lie in who we were created to be.

W.E. Sangster, a pastor who had a disease that robbed him of muscle control said: "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, "He is risen!" -- but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship. The disciple is not above his master. Following Christ means passio passiva, suffering because we have to suffer. That is why Luther reckoned suffering among the marks of the true Church, and one of the memoranda drawn up in preparation for the Augsburg Confession similarly defines the Church as the community of those ‘who are persecuted and martyred for the gospel’s sake’… Discipleship means allegiance to the suffering Christ, and it is therefore not at all surprising that Christians should be called upon to suffer. In fact, it is a joy and a token of his grace.”

It seems to me infinitely better to embrace the joy of a difficult, costly, passionate adventure, than the happiness of a comfortable, independent, dull existence.

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