I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. In John 15, Jesus tells us that He made a way for us to have His joy in us.
So how do I do that? He said, “I have told you this.”
If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. … My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
The way to get Jesus’ joy in my heart is to love others.
Loving others is often why I’m sad and upset, because I see their pain and brokenness. Sometimes, my own pain is because I’m trying to fix them, which is not what Jesus told me to do. But sometimes, I’m just empathetic to their pain, which is Biblical.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Plus, loving others is hard work. Paul spends 18 verses in Romans 12 describing all the things required to love others – honor, zeal, patience, humility, etc.
But if I want Jesus’ joy in my heart, that’s what I have to do. It’s counter-intuitive. It’s as if I have to risk losing my joy in order to find His. It requires faith, because it doesn’t make rational sense.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.”
Here, Jesus is praying for His disciples to continue to have His joy in them after He’s gone. And the way they’ll do that is because of “these things” He said.
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.
We are protected by the name of Jesus, given to us by God. But we’re not just protected to be protected; we’re protected so that we can become one. This tells me that we can’t become one without the protection of the Name of Jesus. That makes sense, because the world and the enemy are always trying to divide us.
So, we need to cling to, and remain in, the name of Jesus so that we can be one. And when we do that – when we become one – we can have the full measure of His joy. Being one with each other requires loving each other.
This is not a simple or easy answer, but it is the truth.
There are other ways to receive joy. I receive joy when I spend time in His presence.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I receive joy when I fill my heart with God’s Word.
When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
Lord God Almighty.
And praise God for all these ways, because I need as much joy as I can get in my life. It’s a powerful weapon in my fight against mental illness.
Coming into God’s presence and filling my heart with His Word don’t require other people in my life. So these are vital ways for me to find God’s joy when I’m alone.
But if I want complete joy, I can’t stay alone. I have to risk loving other people, and trust that God’s Word is true and that I will receive the full measure of Jesus’ joy. And that complete joy will strengthen me more than enough to deal with all the complexities of human relationships.
How have you experienced the fullness of Jesus’ joy when you loved others?
Photo credit: KRiemer