(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 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. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Ever struggle to have joy?
I know I do.
It’s usually because I have based my joy on my external circumstances or situation and forgotten that joy isn’t found simply in the condition of the externals, but in the work and words of my God.
Jesus wanted his disciples and us, for that matter, to have a joy that is complete. The word “complete” isn’t just “I’m done and there’s no more joy to be had” but rather “full joy,” in that you will have discovered and experienced all there is to know and experience about joy.
So where is that?
Jesus identifies two places.
- In his Father’s love
- Obeying his Father’s commands.
What is ironic about the setting of these two phrases is Jesus is about 24 hours from hanging on a cross.
Yet he’s finding joy.
Jesus knew his Father loved him. His baptism three plus years earlier and his transfiguration just a short time prior affirmed from the Father, “This is my son…whom I love…”
He knew the cross was before him, but he wanted “my joy to be in you.” Joy in going to the cross? Yep.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Jesus knew how much the Father loved him. He knew how much he loved his disciples. It gave him joy to express that love by giving up his life for his friends.
Lacking joy? Perhaps it’s time to go back to the love of the Father that gave his one and only Son to be your Savior.
Also ironic is that Jesus connects obeying his Father’s commands with joy. Usually we think of joy is being without commands, without limits, or without accountability.
Here’s what John realized and wrote in his first letter:
1 John 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,…”
Our Father’s commands are not burdensome because the come from a heart of love. Because they come from a heart of love, the commands the Father gives are intended to be a blessing to us as we keep them. The Father isn’t in heaven just waiting for us to break a command and zap us for it, he is in heaven encouraging us to follow his commands because there is great blessing in it.
There is great blessing in respecting human life and seeking to preserve it versus demean and seek to end it.
There is great blessing in putting the best construction on people’s words and actions versus being condescending and judgmental about it.
The list would go on.
Every command is given to be a blessing. When we enjoy the blessing of God we find joy.
So if we are lacking in joy, perhaps its our loving Father’s call to come walk in his commands and find the joy and blessing of doing so.
Apply: Which of these causes you to lack joy the most often? A) drifting away from the Father’s love? B) Drifting away from the Father’s commands?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the great love you have shown to us by sending Jesus for us and by giving us your commands to walk each day in your blessing. When we drift from joy, lead us back to your heart of love and your gift of commands to experience the complete joy you gave to your Son Jesus. AMEN.