Today’s reading is John 14:15-31 (ESV):
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
When people ask me if I’m closest to one of my three siblings, I always respond by saying that I am equally close to all of them, but in different ways. My older brother is one of the few people with whom I talk politics and sports. My younger brother and I open up to each other about relationships and friendships. My younger sister and I bond over the likes of spontaneous karaoke and dance parties. I love each of these crazy humans equally, but I’ve also learned that each has his or her own love language—unique ways that he or she feels loved. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that loving each of these people well means learning to speak his or her love language. For instance, while I show my older brother love by engaging with him and his ideas seriously, I communicate my love for my younger brother by sharing my experiences and occasionally offering advice. As for my younger sister, I love her best by loosening up and not taking myself so seriously when we spend time together.
Like my siblings, God, too, has a love language: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Loving God doesn’t necessarily mean feeling warm and fuzzy about Him all the time or taking on a visible leadership role in a Christian group. It means obedience in the big, small, and even difficult things in life. If you’re wondering how to show God that you love Him today, that’s your answer: love your neighbor, make disciples, and offer your life as a living sacrifice to Him.
However, God’s love language is insanely difficult. Just look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Thankfully, God doesn’t tell us what His love language is and then leave us to learn it on our own. Instead, He first gives us the perfect teacher by sending His son, who, in turn, through his perfect obedience, gives us the perfect example of what it looks like to love God, even unto death on the cross. Jesus himself links his obedience to his love of the Father by saying, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father” (John 14:31).
Furthermore, Jesus promises that God will send the Holy Spirit to be our “Helper” to “teach [us] all things” after he ascends to heaven (John 14:26). Jesus proclaims that the Spirit will live in us, which means that we don’t have to strive to love and obey God alone or in vain. The same God who teaches us to love Him through commanding our obedience is on our side and will “make [His] home in [us]” (John 14:23). Thus, we see that loving and obeying God comes in the context of relationship with Him. It is through Him, and Him alone, that we grow to become speakers of the divine love language.
Victoria Cochran ’17 is a Senior in Leverett House studying Chemistry.