Our experiences to this point have shaped our notion of what a home should be … the way it feels when you walk in the door, who greets you and how, the way it sounds and smells as you linger in every room. Home involves our most personal preferences, don’t you think?
Jesus describes a life-giving home with Him:
“When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.” John 15:5 The Message
Home with Jesus is an intimate HOME
Because this scripture is in a modern version, I notice a word in this verse that seems popular these days – ORGANIC.
I assume that using the word ORGANIC is meant to impart the idea of things occurring naturally.
BUT that word means something entirely different to a modern farmer. For us, ORGANIC means meeting a government standard which production agriculture doesn’t follow. Production agriculture is the kind of farming that feeds the world. For many reasons, it would be impossible to feed the world using those organic practices.
- it’s labor intensive,
- there is a high price and high risk,
- it takes years to achieve,
- and it runs counter to modern farming practices.
In today’s farming terms, ORGANIC just doesn’t happen naturally.
In spiritual terms, our world is anything but ORGANIC for those who follow Jesus. The gospel is just not natural in our world.
So, when we read that our relationship with Jesus is intimate and ORGANIC, understand that this doesn’t happen naturally either.
- Intimacy with Jesus runs counter to our culture! In our 1 & 2 Peter class, we looked at God’s command – “be Holy as I am Holy.” God is saying, “let me draw you into living a set apart life.” We can’t make ourselves holy by anything we DO, but we can BE set apart for Him.
- True intimacy with Jesus means we risk our reputation in the world. Perhaps certain friends no longer feel comfortable with our choices. Do we care more about pleasing God than pleasing others?
- True intimacy with Jesus has a cost – maybe $, status, opportunity in our culture. But our daily news feed shows us the highest cost of following Jesus – giving up life itself to be called a Christian. We all need to consider, “Is He worth it?”
Of all the disciples, John is identified most closely as having an intimate relationship to Christ; he called himself “the disciple Jesus loved.” If anyone was an expert in an intimate and organic life with Jesus, it was John.
John seems to think intimacy with Jesus was worth the cost. Near the end of his life, he sends letters to the churches – 1,2,3 John. In 1 John 4:17-18 he restates the promise of Jesus as a deep conviction of his own:
“God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.”
I wonder what your life looks like today … is it defined by love or by fear?
That comparison always catches me off guard. I’ve always assumed fear plays against peace and love contrasts to hate. But here, fear runs counter to love! True. Fear and love can’t share the same room in our heart-homes. Well-formed love, the kind of love that Jesus leads us into, drives fear from our lives. Can we believe that together today?
Imagine you are like John, seeing Jesus up close and personal … can that kind of love cast out the fear you struggle with today? Take a few minutes to listen to this song by Lincoln Brewster & Kari Jobe. It asks “whom shall I fear?” as it shows scenes from gospels: