“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11, NIV
What brings you joy? Answers to that question are as numerous as there are people. What brings me joy and what brings you joy may well be two totally different things. The one truth we can agree on is that we all search for joy. Well friend, I have some good news for you. Jesus Christ has told us how to have fullness of joy and it is the same for every human being on the planet.
Are you ready? The answer is found in John 15:10-11,
Jesus said, “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” (NIV).
There it is straight from the mouth of Jesus. To know the fullness of joy, we live in obedience to His commandments. Now before you begin to stress-out, the Apostle John gives us this word of comfort, “And His commandments are not burdensome”(1 John 5:3).
So what are these commandments that we are to obey and thus receive joy? Jesus summed them up into two commands found in Matthew 22: 37-39. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind….And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Friend, joy is not found in receiving, but in giving. When we give our love and service to God and to our fellowman, we experience a joy that the world cannot give and the world cannot take away. God did not create us to be cisterns for hoarding, but rather to be vessels for sharing. We are to share our love with the God who created us and with the people He created.
Something supernatural takes place in the deepest crevices of our soul when we humbly bow our will and emotions to God in an act of worship and share our gratitude to Him for His incredible love, matchless mercy, and generous grace. Perhaps this is why the Lord Jesus taught us to pray by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed (holy) is your name…”[i] Your emotions may be as high as a snow-capped mountain peak, or as low as a deep, dark cave, but when you begin to glorify the God of your Salvation, a river of peace will flood your soul.
The same happens when we reach out to another person with a spirit of compassion. One of my joys is to witness the passion of those who have just returned from a mission project. They may have just fed the homeless at a neighborhood shelter, or cared for an elderly person’s lawn, or returned from a far-away land, but the result is the same. People come back from helping others with a sense of peace and satisfaction. In other words, joy.
Peter wrote, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” 1 Peter 1:8 (NIV).
You can have fullness of joy if you follow the outline our Lord Jesus has given. Love God with ALL YOUR HEART. Take some time each day to simply worship Him for His love and presence in your life. Then, reach out to your fellowman and let God’s love flow through you to them. If you do, you better put a saucer under your feet because your cup will be overflowing with the joy of the Lord!
[i] Matthew 6:9 NIV