“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15.11From Sam Lomas:
I find the verse above amazing. What stands out to me is how Jesus says that His joy can be within us and that it will make our own joy complete. I don’t know about you but over the last few months my emotions have been rather up and down. When things are going well, I feel elated. When hardships come, emotions can often spiral and sink into depression. But the way in which Jesus speaks about joy in John 15.11 should be a great comfort to us.
The kind of joy that we can experience as believers comes from knowing Jesus. In fact, the context of this verse is Jesus’ teaching about remaining in Him in order to bear fruit. Joy that is complete comes when we spend time with Jesus. When our lives are intertwined with His, He will help us walk through hard times without sinking into deep emotional lows and manage times of prosperity without being deceived by great highs.
I think what makes this kind of joy so amazing is that fact that it does not rely on us or our circumstances. Instead, this kind of joy relies on Jesus – who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
A verse found in the Old Testament (Nehemiah 8.10) says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength”. It’s a brilliant verse to remember as it points to two truths. First, that our God is a joyful God. He isn’t some angry old man shouting at us from behind a cloud. The opposite is true, the Lord knows the emotion of deep joy and Jesus’ words show that He wants us to know that same joy. Second, the joy that the Lord has can be our strength. Let’s think about that.
In the book of Nehemiah, God’s people were battered, bruised and weakened, having only just returned to Jerusalem after experiencing exile to Babylon. We see in Nehemiah 8 that The Law (first 5 books of the Bible) is read aloud to the people and as they listen and learn, the people are drawn closer to God once again in repentance. And that’s where Nehemiah says that the joy of the Lord will be their strength.
When we draw close to the Lord Jesus and remain in Him, His joy will make us complete and strengthen us for life, for pain, for trials, for marriage, for raising children, for sharing the Gospel, for everything. The strength we need for this life is found in the Lord’s joy. This joy is what Jesus offers in John 15 as we remain in Him.
When we follow Jesus and allow Him to shape and mould our lives, we will find that His joy keeps us level-headed regardless of our circumstances. His joy deep within us will make us complete as we go about our lives.