“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”
Jesus, so unlike the elder brother in the story of the Prodigal Son, does not want to hold anything back from us. Whatever He enjoys Himself He wishes us to have as well, and to the same degree. Not only does He want our joy to ‘be complete’, but His prayer to the Father, shortly before His arrest, was
“That they may have the full measure of My joy within them.” (John 17: 13)
This takes it to a level that cannot be surpassed. So, with the blessing of forgiveness, abundant and eternal life, and a Godly purpose, comes this blessing of Christ-like joy. And, in fulfilment of His desire, we find that it is a part of the fruit of the Spirit produced in our lives and following straight after love – which is its proper place.
We must then begin to look at our relationship with God in a new light and at a deeper level. For it is not a question of what God wants from us, but of what God wants for us! He wants us in His image, and completely so. He wants us to have eternal life and an abundant life. He wants us to have a purposeful and effective life. He wants us to be filled with His love (Romans 5:5). He wants us to have the ‘full measure’ of the joy of Christ within us. In short, He wants us to have what Christ has and enjoys – and so we become ‘co-heirs with Christ’ (Romans 8:17) He knows the way for this to become a reality – it is through His guiding our lives and our trusting Him.
The joy of which Jesus speaks is not a joy dependent upon external circumstances – such as a good income, a peaceful context, or public acclaim. Like the peace that passes understanding, this joy is a gift that comes out of our relationship with God – a relationship that is eternal, is secure in His hands, and is founded on love. Our joy is in God Himself and in the wonder of His love and our relationship with Him.
How does this joy become a part of our life experience? Well, Christ knew the way of it. He knew that the way of life, and the way to life and joy, was to trust in the love, wisdom, guidance and promises of the one God Almighty, and not to be dragged down by the passing problems of the world. So He did:
“I love the Father and ..I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me” (John 14:31)
He becomes ‘the Way’, the only way and, wonderfully, the known way for us. He gives us His teachings so that we can know the joy that is ‘complete.’ If we walk His way of love, we will know and remain in the love of God, from which comes the joy that He has for us. The more we realise the love that the Father has for us, and allow ourselves to become a part of that love, the more this joy will enter into our hearts and lives.
It is God’s desire for us.
There is one way, and one way only, to life, love and joy. It is Christ. He is the Way – the road to walk, the way onto that road, and the way to walk along that road. He is safe, sure and salvation.
Lord Jesus, I deeply want what You long to give me. Please help me to come to You, walk with You, and let You bless me. Amen.