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.