I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
Every once in a while I am struck with the joy of life. It is not because of the freshness of the mountain air or the brilliant morning sunrise. It is that these joyous moments are but a foretaste of eternal life in Jesus. When I sit down and contemplate why I have such joy, it always comes back to His love for me. The verses just before John 15:11 confirms it:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:9-10
“As the Father has loved Me,” Jesus says, “so I have loved you.” There it is––Jesus loves me deeply.
Part of that love for me is to tell me how I should be. Jesus uses the word command because what He says next about staying in His love is absolutely essential. It is the difference between looking through the window at the Christmas celebration, or going in to sit down to fully partake in it. Jesus is telling us that to have complete joy you have to join in His love:
Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12
I urge you to let the Holy Spirit pour His love through every part of your existence and join the celebration of joy to the full.
Joy is a blessing of highest order.
Like rays of sunshine warming what ever it touches.
Yet it disappears with the slightest disturbance.
Why is something so good so fragile?
Joy runs at the first hint of trouble.
It is easily hidden by clouds of struggle,
And overwhelmed by the slightest ripple in life.
Joy dies whenever grief rolls in.
Is there a way to hold on to it through all life’s trials?
Once a year we celebrate the joy of Christmas, propping it up with presents.
But the bright packages prove futile against the doldrums of winter.
Maybe the problem is:
We seek the ephemeral joy instead of the eternal.
Settle for a hint of joy rather than push on to the fullness of joy.
Run after a gift instead of the giver.
Worship the created instead of the creator.
In Your presence is fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed 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. John 15:9-11
Pure peace, and gentle rest, wrapped in love for us to enjoy.
The LORD’s Prayer given to me.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13
My prayer given back.
Deliver me from lust, and lead into into love.
Starve my stomach, and feed my heart.
Forgive what I have done, and reveal in me what You are doing.
Remove my shame, and drench me with Your grace.
Help me let go of my worry, and lead me in the pasture of Your peace.
Drown my pain with the hope of Your glory.
Remove the curse, and anoint me with joyful blessing.
Let me forget where I have been, by the power of whose I am.
Cover me with thy presence.
Rescue those I love, and bring us together in Your goodness … forever!
When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Psalm 126 is about gratitude and joy of the redeemed. In verses 5-6 the magnitude of this joy is shown by wildly swinging contrasts:
Those who sow in tears
will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him.
A similar scene of contrast happens at Simon’s home when a sinful woman bursts in to anoint Jesus’ feet with tears and perfume (Luke 7:36-50).
I find my own joy and love for Jesus pretty puny, similar to Simon’s. There isn’t much contrast making my picture lifeless and ordinary. So I return to Psalm 126 to meditate upon what God has done for me and I begin to sing the song of joy.
The photograph of tree trunks is joyous because of the contrast. It is the same with life.