March 03, 2016

"...So Your Joy May Be Full."

This last Sunday, we began our five week ascent toward Easter celebration by looking at a portion of Scripture from John 15.  Scholars have titled these few beautiful chapters of John (13-17) as "The Heart of Christ". No where else is Christ's soul and heart laid as bear and raw as it is here in this final peaceful walk and discussion with His disciples.

It is overwhelming to consider that Jesus - hours before His personal crisis, and the defining moments of our faith - fills us with hope by speaking a series of "I am telling you this so that..." lessons.  This first portion is one where Jesus says to His disciples, "I am telling you these things so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

What is it that will make our Joy complete?  In vs, 7-8 and 16, He lays it out.  Abide in me by living out the fruits I am going to give you to live out.  And do it in love.  All you need to do to experience my joy is to ask for the fruit, apply it,  and love one another as you do.

Jesus is about to leave this planet physically and the small band of followers will be shaken to their core...but they will remain.  In fact they will grow strong.  They will multiply and all the forces of government and Hell will come against them, but they will not prevail.  And the great testimony of our faith through nearly two millenia is not that we have been perfect, or mighty, but that God has won over so many of His enemies through the fruits displayed in their, and our, lives.  Jesus overcame His temptation with self-control and patience, and peace - Fruits of the Spirit.  Jesus blessed those who cursed Him at the cross and forgave a condemned criminal in the midst of His agonizing personal pain - Fruits of the Spirit.  His disciples endured beatings, floggings, stonings, and even death with gratitude for being counted worthy to suffer for their Lord - with Fruits of the Spirit.  The world was not convinced by acts of military power, by convincing argument, but by Spiritual witness given through Spirit borne fruit.

We can have joy in the midst of suffering and trial.  We can have great joy in the midst of waiting for His return.  We can have great Joy in what He has provided for us in the meantime.  That joy is found in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Humility, Courage, Self Control, etc.  He has promised to give us Spiritual Borne Fruit that will last if we simply ask for it.

Have you asked for His Fruit, or are you still trying to produce your own?  Are you ready to experience His joy and to to be fulfiiled in your joy?  Ask.  God Bless!


With you for His glory