Having the joy of the Lord
I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. John 15:9-16
From the text, the Lord Jesus Christ promised His disciples joy that He alone could provide. It is experienced as His followers continue to abide in Him. As we abide in Him through the presence of the Holy Spirit within, this will result in having the gift of joy. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness...” (Galatians 5:22). What the Lord Jesus Christ is saying is that real joy is only through His abiding presence in our lives. It is experienced not based on the circumstances we are facing but by the relationship we have with Him. It could be a constant experience because it is independent of our circumstances. Happiness on the other hand is always dependent on circumstances. The increase or decrease of its intensity will prompt us if we are going to be happy or not. The Christian life then is not shallow spiritualism or religiosity but a life with inexhaustible power because of God’s working within. Since we have these resources within, He provides us the capacity to reflect His character through our actions. The command to love God has nothing to do with doctrinal purity, the great number of people that attend church, or the manner of worship. He described how loving God is manifested and it is by loving each other the way God loved us. Because God wants His disciples to know the truth found in His word and in doing so grow in wisdom points to the fact that they are not just His servants but His friends. “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves” (vv. 14-15). Do not just focus on your circumstances hoping that they will change and disappear so you could experience joy. Real and constant joy is yours because you have placed your life in Christ.