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.

Do this.

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.


  1. 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?
  2. 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.

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3 thoughts on “The Have + Keep Connection

  1. Lawrence Funderburg says:

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  2. CJ Lasich says:

    This has really stirred my thoughts to scripture I recently read…

    First off, the foundation in the relationship that God has led me into building the last 8 months include:
    • Knowing-in and understanding to the ends of my being that every word in the Bible is the true word of God.
    • Understanding that when we speak His words it manifests His desires in our lives it also employees angels.
    • His promises as shown in the Bible are for all of us at all times.

    These are no longer things I just say or believe, I live them with every ounce of my being.

    I was recently reading Luke chapter 17 verse 20 where the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is coming. Jesus answers them by telling them the kingdom of God already exists within you it is not something to be observed.

    So now when I put who we are into context we are all spirits who have a soul who live in a body, I start to see the connection between the spirit side of us and eternity that exists now in each of us – connected to the spirit. Jesus used present text when he said the kingdom of God already exists within you. He said this before he even went to the Cross which blows my mind which is a discussion for another time.

    So, this is where we learn that we are to have a place for the Holy Spirit to reside after Jesus ascended. This is one of the things He paid for on the cross. And then to back it up the scriptures say he will never leave us nor forsake us. So even when we feel like the Holy Spirit is not in us as believers, he is still there.

    So, if I do a lineup of the three parts that make up my being, and I picture them all standing there: spirit on the left, soul in the middle, and Flesh on the right or body. Which way is my soul facing? Is it focused on the things of my spirit which are connected to the Holy Spirit and God’s eternity? Or is my soul facing away from the spirit and facing my flesh which is all about the things of this world?

    As I continue to surrender to the Lord, I learned that I’m not surrendering myself. I’m surrendering the things that do not make up the identity that He has designed for me. If we are to become our true selves, we need to turn from the world and focus on the Lord with all of our heart mind and soul as He commands. And don’t let the words get twisted that tell you that you’re surrendering yourself. You’re surrendering the parts of yourself that don’t belong. He will help you truly find yourself. And if you think it’s impossible, I will tell you this, with men these things are impossible but with God all things are possible I am walking proof of it. I continue to experience it every day and I look forward to what God will do next each day in this ever-growing relationship.

  3. Aaron Cox says:

    Wonderful devotional. I came across the 14 day devotional on YouVersion. Then I looked this up. Already signed up for the daily email devotional. Excited. I’ve needed a deeper more intimate relationship with Jesus, my Lord and Savior, for a long time. My relationship with Him has been hot before and kinda has grown dim. I want the hot fire for Him back in my life. Return to my first love in Him. He saved me from a lifestyle of hell and delivered me from homosexuallity, drugs and alcohol and so many diverse self destructive ways. Praise God. His love endures forever. Amen. Thanks for the devo.

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