“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
Yesterday, we looked at the analogy of Jesus, as the Vine, and us, as the branches (disciples). Remember, healthy things grow. As a living branch that is attached to the vine, your life will be spiritually growing from the Vine. Jesus’ life is running through the veins of your life as a branch – He is the source of life. What are some of the outcomes of a living branch that is attached to the Vine? The fruit Jesus expects from the branches is first and foremost, love. Jesus said that He loves us as the Father loves Him (v. 9); to remain in His love (v.9); that if we remain in His love, we will obey His commands (v.10); we are to love each other as He has loved us (v.12); the greatest love is laying down one’s life for a friend (13); Jesus says that His command is that we love one another. Notice the love connection is not just with Jesus, but with others. We are to love each other. In loving each other, we need to be socially connected to one another, do things together (e.g., life groups, ministry, church, meals). Jesus is telling us all of this for our benefit. He wants our joy to be made full. A recent research review, published in Nature Neuroscience, suggests that social disconnection may be processed in the brain in the same way as the threat of physical harm. The brain responds to threat of a broken relationship or social disconnection by activating a basic ‘alarm system’.
This alarm system sets in motion a range of neurophysiological processes that are the same, whether the threat is physical and in the environment, or perceived and based on individual judgment of a threat to social connectedness. What happens when this alarm system is activated? The sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive, increasing inflammation, compromising the immune system and contributing to many diseases such as diabetes, aging and cancer.
On the other hand, how does social connectedness improve health? Research shows that being socially connected activates basic reward-related circuits that are also activated when learning to respond to beneficial environmental cues. Belonging and feeling cared for are critical to good health.
Jesus says that His command is that we love one another. Notice the love connection is not just with Jesus, but with others. We are to love each other.
Are you feeling unloved or socially disconnected from other Christ followers? Jesus loves you and His heart’s desire is to see you connected for your emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. Take a moment and ask Jesus to help you feel His love and find ways to connect with others. Newbreak offers a lot of opportunity for you to be connected and in loving relationship with others. We center this around three B’s.
Another way you can serve is to do something in ministry. There are many options available to you: e.g., greeting and/or assisting people at church; preparing for various aspects of the weekly service; helping children; serving at community events; hosting or leading a life group. Ask your Campus Director or go to the information booth to get help on connecting in a group, ministry or outreach. Pray and ask Jesus how and where you can get connected. It is vital to your life.