One of my favourite books read this last year has been Chuck Parry’s ‘Free Falling’. If you haven’t read it, do. It’s a challenging, inspiring, thought-provoking book chronicling the many miracles Chuck has witnessed during his life so far. I remember reading it in a coffee shop and the presence of God falling on me so wonderfully and sweetly, i felt thoroughly undone and put back together again all in one moment. One of the highlights for me is when Chuck talks through his take on Jesus’ words in John 15, ‘If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love’. He makes the point that Jesus is not referring to the 10 commandments or some rule book. In fact, if you go through the New Testament looking for commands that Jesus gives, (which i haven’t done, but Chuck has!), those given most frequently are:
Be made whole (summarising all of His healing commands)
When Jesus teaches us to live in His love – a position of rest, of receiving – He tells us to pay special attention to His commands – commands for us to live in wholeness, commands for us to put our full weight of belief in Him, commands for us to live lives free from fear (for perfect love casts out fear).
I want to live just such a life. Whole. Faith-filled. Fearless. The beauty is of course, that Jesus’ words have within them the power to accomplish that which they demand. This is why he never prayed for the sick, he simply told the person to be healed. It’s why he said to the woman caught in adultery, ‘Go and sin no more’ – not a word of disapproval, but one of transformation, for as he said it power was released to her to go and sin no more. It’s why Peter who had observed the potency of Jesus’ commands says to Him as Jesus is walking on water, ‘Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you’, for as Jesus gives the invitation ‘Come’, power is released for Peter to step out and walk on waves alongside His master. Jesus is not placing on us a heavy duty of obedience, but in speaking a command over us He is releasing the power for its accomplishment. And so, Jesus’ commands become wonderful invitations into lives of fullness and freedom. No matter who you are or where you are today, Jesus is speaking a power-filled invitation over you, words of heaven’s potency – be whole, believe, fear not. Because He has said them, we get to walk in them. Wow.