The Have + Keep Connection
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 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. — John 14:19-21
Jesus emphasizes several divine promises, such as reciprocated love, the Holy Spirit, the promise of eternal life, and an ongoing union with him. But these promises stipulate that the disciples will both "have" and "keep" everything Jesus has taught them.
So what does this mean, to have and keep?
"Having" means seeking a growing understanding of Jesus's teachings. This means we need to engage daily with God's Word. We should read, study, and even memorize the Word, especially focusing on his teaching in the Gospels like we are doing here right now.
"Keeping" means we must do something with what we "have." It implies that we let the teachings we "have" read, studied, and memorized affect our thoughts, will, and actions. This is the tricky part that most disciples fail to do. They don't bridge the gap from idea to action, from information to transformation, from learning to doing, or from trust to obedience.
So here is the deal. Jesus isn't suggesting mere intellectual stimulation (i.e. "having" without "keeping"). Nor is he suggesting that we adhere only to a set of rules (i.e. "keeping" without "having"). He is actually showing us the way to intimacy with him that is going to drive away all worries, loneliness, and anxieties that emerge after his departure. This is because Jesus's union with them is going to change. It is going to shift from a physical and external connection to a spiritual and internal one facilitated by the Spirit. Therefore, as they "have and keep," they will experience a more intimate union with him and the ever-present Jesus throughout their lives.
Many believers never take the time to develop this having-keeping connection. And it's because this effort feels awkward, theoretical, and abstract rather than practical. So I am going to pitch you one method to get started.
Read a portion of God's Word today. It doesn't have to be extensive. It could be just a few verses. Then, search for a truth that spiritually convicts you. Convictions from Scripture will challenge your natural thoughts, will, or actions. And before that conviction fades, act in obedience to the command of that text. Acting quickly is crucial at first. And then, as you do it, become more spiritually aware, not of your action, but of what the Spirit does in and through you. This connection is designed to build intimacy with Jesus. And then tomorrow, do the same thing, and over time you will feel your loneliness dissipate and intimacy with Jesus grow closer than ever before.
- In what specific ways can you more actively engage in "having" and "keeping" the teachings of Jesus in your daily life, and how might this deepen your spiritual connection and intimacy with Him?
- Can you identify a recent instance where you felt spiritually convicted by truth from God's Word? How did you act upon that conviction, and what did you observe about the Spirit's work in and through you?
DO THIS: Connect your having and keeping.
PRAY THIS: Heavenly Father, guide me in understanding your word and infusing it into my everyday life so that I may not just "have" your teachings but truly "keep" them. Let each step of obedience draw me closer to you, dissolving my loneliness and filling me with an intimate union with Jesus today and every day. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Walk With You.
SIGN UP — THE DAILY DEVO
short + biblical + practical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.