Complete Joy! Even in this world
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11
Jesus said that to his disciples….to us. Did He really say that our joy could be “complete”???
It’s funny how reading the Bible with fresh eyes always kind of astounds me. I have heard that verse all my life and when I read this section of John, at first I blew right through it. Then, I went, wait. Reverse. Back up. Joy can be complete? How is that possible on this earth that I think we’d all agree is not lacking in things that are unjoyful! Just look at political posts and terrorists to start with.
But, Jesus said, He has told us “this” so that HIS joy may be in you, in me! AND, it may be COMPLETE!
What is the “this?” What did He say would bring us joy? Let’s look at the Scripture leading up to that verse.
He is the vine and we are the branches. The Father is the gardener. We are going to get branches that are not bearing fruit cut off and thrown into the fire. Is that gonna hurt? Yeah, it is. It’s easy when we just run through that verse and think of fruit, but what is it in us that He has been working on that is hard to give up and it’s gonna hurt to have that cut off and thrown into the fire? It could be an addiction, an attitude, a behavior. And it doesn’t have to be so extreme that it’s disrupting your life entirely. But we all have things that God is trying to cut off of us that we don’t want to allow. Why? Because it hurts! But, then we will be more effective and productive and in the end…….OUR JOY WILL BE COMPLETE!!!
He also prunes our branches! What does that mean for real life? We know that pruning is done to help make a branch that is already producing good fruit to bear more good fruit (or flowers). Isn’t it hard to watch someone trim or prune the very branch that seems to be the one that is full of gorgeous flowers or fruit? But, we know that it will help produce a healthier plant and more fruit/flowers.
The same goes for us! He will keep pruning/refining even those areas that are bearing fruit….the areas that we already feel like we are doing ok! Sometimes it feels like there are so many things that we have to change or let go of! The good news is that the Spirit knows the best time to do the pruning and He will take us through the process and not leave us! We are still connected to the vine, so we have His power as the pruning is going on.
He goes on to say that just as the Father has loved Him, He loves us! Man! That is amazing! Of course, God our Father loves Jesus, but to think that He loves us the same way?! Wow! Because we have chosen to stay connected to the vine, He tells us to love others the same way that He loves us. Sure, it’s easy when the person is loveable. It is not so easy when they are unlovable, angry, jealous, rude! But!!! OUR JOY WILL BE COMPLETE!!!!
So, do the hard thing. It will be well with you. Allow Him to prune and cut off branches. Remain in Him by daily reading His Word, especially in your areas of weakness. Pray. And Love. Love the unlovable. So that YOUR JOY MAY BE COMPLETE! J