As Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure in John 15, he lays out a form of love never perfectly lived out until this moment. Our Lord’s model of love for his disciples is the love of his heavenly Father – a love which provides abundant affirmation.
Jesus loved his disciples like his Father had loved him:
I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love.
– John 15:9-10, The Passion Translation
The Father’s love language
Love is the language Jesus leaves with his followers, even as he approaches the greater example of love – his redeeming death. The love of the Father led him into the wilderness to be tempted, yet kept him from sin. It allowed him to suffer for our sake, from his trials before political leaders to his public death, and even when it looked like God may have left him. God’s love was there the whole time.
How are you loved by Jesus? In the same way he was loved by his heavenly Father. His love continues no matter the circumstance in which you find yourself.
When you feel alone, still you know that nothing can separate you from the ever-present love the Father has for you (Romans 8:38-39). If you feel incompetent, you have full access to the most competent wisdom of the Father to guide you (James 1:5). If the enemy has shamed you into thinking you are a failure as a father, you have the limitless forgiveness of Jesus’ healing love. If you are beaten down and discouraged as a dad, the Holy Spirit’s loving strength can lift you up (Isaiah 40:31).
The love of your heavenly Father feeds your soul, so you can share that love with your precious family.
I have loved you as the Father has loved Me. Abide in My love. Follow My example in obeying the Father’s commandments and receiving his love. If you obey My commandments, you will stay in My love (John 15:9-10, The Voice).
You abide in Christ’s love, and he provides love. How? Jesus says it happens when we obey his commands. Obey his command to forgive, and you will experience what it’s like to forgive someone and experience his loving forgiveness yourself. As you offer freedom to a soul, that frees you to love freely too. Obey his command to avoid provoking your child, patiently loving and leading him to grow into a better version of himself. Love is a resource for your heart to build a bridge of trust to your child’s heart. Obey his command to lovingly train and teach your child, and you will equip her with the emotional skills to love others well. And when your children are grown, they will want to come home to be loved and to love you. Obey his commands, and you will stay in Christ’s love.
Fathers who are loved well, love well. So if you put in the time and effort to remain intimately at home in God’s love, your home will explode with multi-color love like grand finale fireworks on the 4th of July.
As the father’s love goes, so goes the love of the family. Feed your capacity to love by spending time with your own Father, and your children will have a model of their heavenly Father’s love to emulate. Loving well is active, not passive. A man who loves well does not wait in fear, but initiates in love. A father who loves well looks for ways to love his wife well, knowing a healthy marriage – next to Jesus, is the best gift he can give their children. Your love brings peace to your home, because love is at home in your home.
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done – kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
– John 15:9-10, The Message
A prayer for fathers
Father, let me love well because you love me well.
Let me drink often from the deep well of your love.
You love me with a perfect love; free me from fear.
You have forgiven me; let me be quick to apologize and to forgive.
You have loved me with a patient love; make me gentle and caring.
You have loved me in wisdom; let me walk with the wise and grow wiser.
Father, you have removed my guilt; allow me to maintain no regrets.
Father, you have removed my shame; let me experience no condemnation.
Father, you are affectionate toward me; help me live this kind of love too.
Father, you have shown me your ways; let me train my family and teach your ways.
Father, you love me with an unconditional love; Let me offer the gift of love with no expectations.
Father, your love for me was sealed when Jesus said, “It is finished.” Please let me finish well.