I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! ~ John 15:11 NLT
For those who were with us for our Victory Saturday in November, you might recall that I was hearing that day that we were to decree JOY over the coming year. Recently, I was led to the verse above in John 15 and have been so encouraged by what it promises us.
In John 15 Jesus is preparing his close disciples for his departure. I can only imagine that the conversation drifted to recalling memories of all they had been through together. But what are they to expect for the future? Jesus gently tells them that, first, as a loving Father does, expect to be pruned by God. The excess baggage and dead growth will be cut away so fresh spiritual life can flourish. Then, no matter what seems to be happening, stay connected to the “vine”, the source of life, to Jesus himself. In John 15:9 he says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love."
Jesus clarifies that by saying, if they do what he told them to do, they will remain in his love and produce much eternal fruit (v.16). That exhortation is for us today, too. God has been speaking, sharing his deepest secrets with us through Jesus’ life, his Word, the Holy Spirit, nature, and many other ways. Have you heard him? He is always “speaking” to his chosen ones, and Jesus has chosen you.
Imagine Jesus is seated next to you at dinner. He leans over to tell you another secret. “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” Jesus smiles at you as he says it, watching for your reaction. Will you believe it?
What gives Jesus joy? Can it be that doing the Father’s will, establishing his Kingdom on earth by changing our hearts and setting us free from fear and condemnation gives him joy? Does he want us to share in his joy by partnering with him in ministry?
Notice how “my” joy, changes to “your” joy. Why not? After all, we are created to become branches connected to Jesus, the vine, by remaining in his love. That is where we feel fulfillment, belonging and worth. By staying connected, we soak in the Holy Spirit’s power and learn to love God and others well. Jesus promises that, as we do, our joy will overflow. As Jesus’ love and joy overflow in us, God will use us to testify to his glory by our lives and expand his Kingdom to the lost and hungry.
Will you join me in claiming the promise of John 15:11? Let’s become women of contagious joy as we remain in Christ’s love and are filled with the Spirit’s power. This is a promise we can live into for our lifetime and beyond. Let's testify to Jesus' presence in our lives through joy.
Dear friends, be blessed as you commit to believe Jesus. He is faithful, generous and kind. Be blessed as you daily are filled with his love, experience his joy, and overflow with your own joy as you trust Jesus more each day. May people stop and ask you why you are so content. Be blessed in the name of the vine, the source of life. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ April 14, 2021