“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Love Letters From Kathy
Today, at the time of this writing, is our wedding anniversary. And the timing is interesting because today we’re looking at John 15:4-5 where Jesus says we’re to abide in him the way a branch abides in a fruit bearing vine. Yesterday I was trying to find something in a closet and came across some letters written by Kathy to me from past wedding anniversaries and other occasions. Here are a few quotes from one of my favorites. It was written during a time when I was out of town for work:
My dearest Kurt,
I’ve come to the conclusion that you are by far one of the best things that has ever happened to me (next to the Lord). I thank God that he brought us together and has made our love grow beyond my wildest dreams.
Another quote from the same letter:
If one of us were to be taken home tomorrow I would give thanks for each day we have had. I know that the loss I would feel after losing you would be unbearable except for the grace of God and yet I’m glad of that because it shows that our love was truly great.
Kathy ended the letter with,
By the way, if you receive a phone call that might be, um, let’s say, a little x-rated, DON’T HANG UP!
I love you!
Marriage and Intimacy in the Bible
It’s no accident that wedding and marriage imagery are used in the Bible as a picture of our relationship with Jesus. In another one of Kathy’s letters, her very first sentence is a quote from Jesus. “And the two shall become one.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
That’s what Jesus is talking about in today’s passage. “Abide in me, and I in you,” Jesus said. He wants intimacy and connection. The kind of intimate connection we see in a great marriage.
Right now you might be saying to yourself, “This all sounds too sappy.”
Well you’re right! It is sappy. Intimacy is dripping with the stuff. But what is sap? Sap is the blood of the vine. It’s filled with nutrients and minerals and it carries these up and out into the branches. Without it the vine can’t bear fruit. So yes, it’s sappy, and that’s a good thing.
Making Love Flow
It’s good because when we experience this kind of connection and intimacy, love just flows. We want to write love letters to our husband or wife. We want to buy presents for her. We want to dive in and help him during a time of suffering. We want to be faithful to her. We want to express our love. We get to express our love.
Kathy’s letters remind me of the Song of Songs (some scholars say the ancient Jews weren’t permitted to read the Song of Songs until they were either 30 years old or married). Kathy’s letters remind me of the bride of Christ imagery from Revelation, and the times when Jesus talks about himself as our bridegroom. (Song of Solomon, Revelation 19:7-9, 21:2, 21:9, John 3:29, Matthew 9:15)
When we have this kind of connection and intimacy with Jesus, our love for him just flows. And we become filled with his Spirit and the fruit of his Spirit just flows, from us.
Can I give you my best advice? Intimate connection with Jesus is the most important thing ever. Without it we dry up and die. With it, love flows from us. When we’re intimately connected with Jesus we don’t just have an existence, we have life and we have life more abundantly. We don’t just survive, we thrive. (John 10:10)
Connection with Jesus is everything.
So find people who love Jesus with everything they have. They are the body of Christ. Attach yourself to those people. Connect yourself with those people in a deep way. Live a life of sharing with those people your setbacks and breakthroughs as you try to follow Jesus closely. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
“Father, help the reader of this blog post to connect with Your true vine, Jesus, in the healthiest, strongest, most fruit bearing, best possible way in Your sight.
“In Jesus’ name,