Jesus tells us in John 15: 9-11 “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.” Wow! Who could ask to be loved more than that? The Father loves Jesus more than we can ever imagine or put into words. Jesus tells us that he loves us that much. That love is unfathomable. It’s a gift that we can never earn.
Then he tells us his desire for us. “Remain in my love.” Is there anything we wouldn’t do to keep that love flowing into our heart?
Our response can only be, “Yes, Lord, we want to live in your love always. Tell us how.”
“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.” This is the Lord’s clear direction on how to keep our love relationship with him alive and vibrant. Do what he wants. Trust him. Do what we know will bring us everlasting happiness. Believe his word. Live in him.
Not only do we have the commandments, the guidebook, but also we have the Guidance Counselor, the Holy Spirit. We have the example of how Jesus always obeyed his Father’s will. That’s how he kept close to his Father, and that’s how we keep close to him.
Then comes the clincher, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” He wants us to remain close in his loving will so that we will feel his lasting joy in our hearts. That supernatural joy is far beyond our human capacity to fully receive or even comprehend. He assures us that our joy will be complete in him — or as complete as we can experience it here on earth. That joy is like nothing else on earth, for it originates from heaven and leads us back home. That joy is Jesus alive in our hearts.
So when we are not feeling that precious joy of the Lord that he desires for us, what can we do? How do we pray? Consider asking him in prayer to show us where we are not in his will.
But also consider examining our conscience and asking ourselves if we are hell-bent on making our own joy outside his commandments? Are we deceived into believing that we are the source of goodness? Or do we believe we know better than God what brings us joy? After we get an honest answer to these questions, we are ready to let him show us where we are trying to find fleeting joy off his path.
Hopefully, we then come to John 15:9-11 and take it to heart that he is the source of our joy. The Giver of Joy is the one who desires that our joy be complete. The one who designed us to complete our joy in him.
What joy is incomplete in your life because it does not flow from the Lord and lead back to him?
(© 2013 revised 2016 Nancy H C Ward)