“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.” – John 15:9-11
Joy can be an elusive concept in today’s world. We are surrounded by so much despair, fear, anxiety, disdain, and division. Even when we experience joy, it is fleeting and often feels hollow or incomplete. The pleasures of this world cannot ever fulfill or sustain us; only Jesus, the true vine, can do that. He invites us to dwell with him, be nourished by him, and experience his eternal and unconditional love. He offers us abundant life in which we can experience joy that is truly full.
Of course, we have to do our part by abiding in his love and obeying the Father’s commandments. Abiding and obeying are inextricably linked together in this passage. When we abide in the love of Jesus, we choose to follow his example, to walk as he walked. Jesus lived in his Father’s love and perfectly obeyed every command of his Father. We are called to emulate that relationship.
Jesus knows that sin separates us from the Father’s love. Though we are fully and eternally forgiven through the cross, the consequences of our sin remain in this earthly realm. We feel guilt or shame; we make bad decisions that pull us away from God’s will for our lives; we believe lies about ourselves, others, or God. Jesus knows that the only antidote for the poison of sin and division is the joy of abiding and obeying. When we know how deeply we are loved by the Lord, when we recognize what has been done on our behalf, our hearts overflow with love and gratitude. We get to abide in the love of Jesus, and so we want to obey, to do the things that bring God glory and bring us joy.
Will you come to Jesus and abide in him by obeying his commandments? Then and only then will you know and experience complete joy.
Reflect & Respond:
Where have you looked for this joy in the world? What would it look like for you to abide and obey today? Test Jesus on this – see if you experience this promised joy by abiding and obeying. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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