That Our Joy May Be Full
Read John 15:9-11 (ESV)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
According to this verse, how can we experience God’s joy?
The world says that we will be happiest if we just do whatever we want. “Do what makes you happy” is the world’s philosophy. We are sold the idea to only keep things in our lives that “spark joy” and get rid of everything else. But that is not what Jesus suggested. In today’s passage, Jesus said that if we want our joy to be full, we need to abide in His love.
But what does that mean? In John 15:4-5 Jesus said: “’Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from you me you can do nothing.’” The idea is that we are to live connected to Christ. He is the vine. As branches, if we are not connected to the vine, we will shrivel up and die. But when we live in a close relationship with Him, connected to His strength, power, and love, we can produce much fruit.
But we can’t live closely in a relationship with Jesus without also keeping His commandments. So, how does obedience lead to joy? And what does obedience have to do with abiding in His love? Well, I ask my children to obey my rules. Why do I have rules for my children? Because I love them. If they follow my rules and do as I say, their lives should be more joyful because my rules are for their good. For example, we don’t let our kids leave the house without asking for permission and telling us where they will be going. We want them to be safe. We ask them to share, take turns, and play fair because we know they’ll enjoy each other more if they get along. Our rules might seem like a drag at first. But I am confident that my kids will look back someday and see just how much our loving boundaries did for them.
Likewise, we have to obey Christ in order to abide with Him. That obedience leads to joy. He has our best interests in mind. His commandments keep us from unnecessary pain, heartache, and trouble. His commandments are a blessing.
Friends, what could possibly bring us more joy than abiding in Christ’s love? Nothing. When we have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we get to fellowship and do life with our Savior! We learn from His ways and His wisdom. We experience His peace and yes, even His joy. Not just a little joy. Jesus promises that our joy can be full.
Jesus, abiding and remaining close to You is such a blessing. Keep drawing me closer to Yourself and help me to live in obedience to Your commandments. I know Your rules are for my good. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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