It has always been a challenge for me to just receive love, always an underlying feeling that I must somehow work and earn that love. John and Paula Sanford call it, “performance orientation.”
The constant propensity of the born anew is to fall back to striving by human effort. Our minds and spirits know the free gift of salvation, but our hearts retain their habit to earn love by performing… Performance orientation is a term which refers not to the service we perform but to the false motives which impel us.John and Paul Sandford, The Transformation of the Inner Man
That propensity makes Jesus’ words in John 15 both frustrating, because I want to do something to earn the privilege of being a part of the Vine, and also reassuring, knowing that He loves me and I have a personal connection with Him. And as always, into this conundrum enters the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all truth.
Opening the chapter of the day for me in Andrew Murray’s True Vine, I read the words of Jesus in John 15:9.
Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.Jesus, John 15:9
As I read, I hear my Father whispering these word to my soul. No longer just words on a page but words on my heart, reminding me of this awesome truth. And with this, I read Murray’s words, again words directed to my soul.
Here Christ leaves the language of parable, and speaks plainly out of the Father. Much as the parable could teach, it could not teach the lesson of love. All that the vine does for the branch, it does under the compulsion of a law of nature: there is no personal living love to the branch. We are in danger of looking to Christ as a Savior and a supplier of ever need, appointed by God, accepted and trusted by us, without any sense of the intensity of personal affection in which Christ embraces us, and our life alone can find its true happiness. Christ seeks to point us to this… Just as he knew and rejoiced ever hour-the Father loveth Me-we too may live in that unceasing consciousness-as the Father loved Him, so He loves me.Andrew Murray, The True Vine
Thank you, Father. Your Word and Your Spirit reminds me that as precious and important it is for me to understand that I am a branch, I am also a precious child. Thank you for my friend, Andy, who comes alongside to help and encourage me.