John 15:9-11

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9-11

The 15th chapter of John lies within an extended conversation that Jesus has with the disciples. It is his last will and testament to his friends. Just as we cling to the last words spoken by a loved one, the Christian church has clung to these words since they were gathered up in writing and passed down through the ages.

Jesus commands his friends to love one another and to love others as he himself loves others. It is a command, an imperative, an order. It isn’t a suggestion, offered up as a “good idea”. A command to live a lifestyle of love, to approach the world around us from a place of love. On our own, we can’t do that.

It costs us too much. To love others means we can’t be picky and choosy. We can’t love some. We can’t pick favorites. We are called to love those with whom we seriously disagree. To love people who otherwise disgust us. Jesus isn’t messing around with this stuff. He means it. And he knows full well that we can’t do it on our own.

Thus the promise and the logic of the above passage. The love to which we are called doesn’t begin in us, it begins in God. The silken rope of God’s love passes through Jesus to us. We love because God loved us. And we don’t just love in word but in deed. This is a commandment keeping kind of love – the command to love. And there is a pay off to all of this. The payoff is joy.

Jesus felt joy. Even in the face of what was just around the corner. In the face of rejection, of false arrest, of public humiliation, of excruciating crucifixion, nothing could steal Jesus’ joy. It was the joy of a connection deeper than life itself, deeper than any outward circumstances. A joy that was immune to fear.

I love much of Rick Warren’s definition of joy: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

The only thing I would change is the inclusion of the word “control.” I don’t think that God is a control freak, I think God is a love freak, and love means giving us the freedom to fail and God’s own willingness to be vulnerable to being rejected. God, in my mind, embraces both. So I would rather edit that first phrase to read “God is in the midst of all the details of my life” and let it go at that. It says enough to give birth to joy.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, in the face of all of the obstacles that we will confront today, fill us with joy. Fill us with the settled assurance that you are in the midst of all of the details of our lives and give us the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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8 Responses to “John 15:9-11”

  1. kirk Says:

    A Men

  2. Teri Says:

    I needed that this morning.

  3. Jack Says:

    Amen!! The subject of this devotion is very timely indeed!

    Praise Him!!!

  4. aaachooo Says:

    “God is in the midst of all the details of my life” Amen! This is a very important distinction – God has given us freedom and His ultimate will for us will be accomplished.

  5. Lyn Says:

    Your devotions bring a joy/God into my life. I was joyful to see you return to writing these devotions. Like you, I need the will to make some changes and your return is one item that may inspire me to get back on track.
    Thank you.

  6. Lise Says:

    Thank you.

  7. Georgene Says:

    Your “edit” is in line with my thinking too. And I am so glad to have you back. I don’t think you realize how much you mean to us and how much you help in our daily lives.

  8. Carolee Says:

    Reminds me of this popular Sunday School song:

    I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
    Down in my heart
    Down in my heart – Where
    Down in my heart
    I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
    Down in my heart
    Down in my heart to stay
    And I’m so happy
    So very happy
    I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart
    And I’m so happy
    So very happy
    I’ve got the love of Jesus in my heart – Where
    Down in my heart
    I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy
    Down in my heart
    Down in my heart to stay

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