Love and Joy Come To You

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.
-John 15:9-12 (NLT)

As Christians, we experience joy and blessing.  But there is also an emptiness, because we seem to leak so much.  So we end up going from meeting to meeting or experience to experience, in order to fill up again.  We can be back to feeling empty within hours or days.

I imagine that there could be many reasons for this, but one key from the Master, Jesus, is found here in John, chapter fifteen.  All Christians have a measure of joy, but there is a life available of overflowing joy, that Jesus declares.

Jesus has just told us about remaining in him.  He says that he is the vine and we are the branches.  The Father is the gardener, who prunes our lives and wants fruitfulness.

Now, Jesus explains what he means by remaining or abiding in him.  It's about his love.  We remain in his love by obeying his commands.  Does he still love the disobedient ones?  Yes. But when we do not remain in his love, like a branch connected to the vine; we will wither and not produce good fruit.

Overflowing joy in your life comes from remaining in Jesus love by obeying his commands.

Being connected through obedience produces joy in our lives.  The disobedient life is not a joyful one.  You can get blessed and feel love and joy from people or from God, but find yourself empty again within a short period of time, if you are not remaining in the Lord, through obedience.

Obedience to Jesus is summed up in his command to love one another.  Overflowing joy comes into our lives through loving our brothers and sisters.  Being loved by God and loving people is the core of the Christian life.  This is also the way to a life of overflowing Joy.

The two go together.  It does not work to be on a God quest, to know God; but not really caring about loving people.  You can go to every conference and have hands laid on you for joy in your life.  But if you do not live a life of simple obedience to Jesus life of love, then joy will not flow in your life.

Loving people is hard.  I remember a lady, from when I was in junior high, who wore a button that said, "I'm third".  I asked her what it meant and she told me it means, "God is first, others are second, and I am third".  It really struck me and I resisted that message, because I was not living that life; but was going towards the selfish path that would lead me to a joyless life.

Loving people is hard if God is not at the center of your life.  I remember a pictograph, from Sunday School, of a chair or throne in the center of your life.  They kept telling me that you have to have God in Christ at the center of your life and not your self.  I was stubborn.

God finally brought me around and saved me from destroying myself and gave me a wonderful life of remaining in Christ, who is completely Lord of my life.  The hard part is to surrender, if you are gripped by fear and control, in your elevation of self.  After you have done that, whether it was hard or easy; the next part begins; and that is loving people like Jesus loves.

If you hold on to Jesus with one hand, you can reach out and love people with your other hand.  Disciples are people who are learning from Christ, how to do this.  There are many facets to love.  Love is kind and patient, but it is also confronting.

Learners, or disciples, are learning the way of loving people.  We are continually in training to move in the opposite spirit of selfishness and are growing in a life of overflowing joy.