Complete Joy

Complete Joy

Key Texts: John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have 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.


I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.


No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.


You are my friends if you do what I command you.


I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.


You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.


I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Are you joyful?  I don’t just mean are you happy?  That’s actually a different question.

I mean do you have a deep, spiritual, abiding joy that anchors your life?  If so, then you are truly blessed.

The good news is – Scripture tells us that we can all find that in an abiding relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Jesus makes it quite clear: “I have said these things to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

The astonishing thing about that statement is that Jesus said it to his closest disciples on the very night that he was going to be betrayed, abandoned, turned over to his enemies, and led to his death on a cross.  That doesn’t sound like a time to be “joyful” to me and yet, that is what Jesus said.

Again, being happy is very different from being so attuned to your God given destiny that it fills you with deep abiding joy.

What was the key to Jesus being able to follow His destiny – through all the pain and death – to resurrection and new life?

The key was – and is – love.  Again, he was quite clear: “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

Happiness, as defined by the world, is one thing.  Complete joy, as defined by God, is quite another.

Choose joy.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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