Bible Devotion Week 13

This week we have read from some of the richest parts of John’s gospel. I was particularly struck by John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” The “these things” refer to Jesus’ teaching on the vine and the branches in the previous 10 verses. What struck me was Jesus’ words, “that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” Are you joyful? Would people describe you as a happy person? Or would they describe you as dour and sour, grump and cantankerous, angry and irritable? It reminded me of something Martyn Lloyd-Jones once preached regarding “Spiritual Depression. He said, “Nothing is more important, therefore, than that we should be delivered from a condition which gives other people, looking at us, the impression that to be a Christian means to be unhappy, to be sad, to be morbid, and that the Christian is one who ‘scorns delights and lives laborious days’” (Spiritual Depression, 11). 

Lloyd-Jones does not argue that we go around with a superficial smile. He does not deny that some seasons and circumstances rightfully make us sad or anxious. His argument, and what I believe Jesus is getting at in v. 11 as well, is that we as Christians should have a resting disposition of joy. The Bible speaks in many places of a joyful disposition for the believer. Think of these other famous verses. Nehemiah 8:10, “For the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” Paul wrote that from prison! 

You might think, “You are still asking me to buck up and put on a cherry disposition!” Let’s look at verse 11 again, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you…” The joy of the Lord is our strength and like with so much else in the Christian life this strength does not come from us. Joy is a gift from Jesus. Maybe you haven’t felt joyful recently but I assure you that joy is at your fingertips. You simply need to fold them together and pray, “Give me your joy, O Lord, so that my joy may be fulfilled.”

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