The absolute, most important single act of the children of God is making space to encounter our heavenly Father in the secret place. Abiding in God is the foundation on which every other aspect of the Christian life finds success. It establishes roots which enable us to receive all that we need to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It guides us to constant refreshment and revival in God’s presence, thereby supplying and sustaining the abundant life God intends for us. My prayer is that you would be marked by wonderful, satisfying, and fulfilling encounters with the presence of God as we look at John 15:1-17 this week. Make room in your heart and mind to rest in the love of your heavenly Father as we look at the different ways we are to abide in the true vine of God.
The kingdom of our God is one of joy, rejoicing, and gladness (Romans 14:17). Our heavenly Father is the one who throws a massive party for the prodigal returned home (Luke 15:11-32). He’s the God of the angels who rejoices over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). He’s the God who celebrates with us, sings over us, and rejoices in us (Zephaniah 3:17). And at the end of this age he will throw a wedding feast in celebration of the joy he has over total restored relationship with us, his bride (Revelation 19:6-9).
Scripture is clear that our God doesn’t desire to keep his joy to himself, but longs to fill us with it to overflowing. Toward the end of the John 15:1-17 passage we have been studying this week, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). God’s plan is to fill us with the fullness of joy that is grounded solely in him rather than the ever-changing circumstances around us. That’s why Galatians 5:22 tells us that, “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy.” Joy is meant to come from the Holy Spirit within us. It’s in relationship with God that we experience his abundant joy. Let’s go wholeheartedly into the heart of God today and find the reservoir of joy he longs to guide us to. Let’s be believers marked by the joy of our heavenly Father rather than the dissatisfaction we experience from the world.
So how do we experience the joy of God? How can the joy of Jesus be in us as he spoke of in John 15:11? Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” As children of God we must rejoice in our heavenly Father above all else. There is always joy to be found when our highest priority is God. Our God is always turning what the enemy meant for evil into our good if we will choose to love him above all else (Romans 8:28). When we lean on God as the source of our contentment rather than the opinion of man or success in the world, we will have a sure foundation on which to experience joy. But, when our emotions change with the tides of the world, our joy will come and go like the waves. Ground yourself in God. Rejoice in the Lord always because he’s always worthy of rejoicing in. And in placing him first you will experience vast and unshakable joy.
To experience the fullness of joy God has for us we must also trust in his plans. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Each day of our life was created by God. And while the world operates apart from his leadership, when we trust in him and allow him to work in and through us he takes circumstances that would normally harm us and turns them into miraculous examples of his unceasing love. Acts 16:25-26 tells us a story in which Paul and Silas exemplify a lifestyle of trusting in God. Scripture says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.” Paul and Silas knew that God can and will work in our lives when we place our trust in him. So they were able to praise and worship God in joy through any circumstance, and God did the miraculous. James describes this principle in James 1:2-4 when he writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” We can have joy in trial when we trust in God and live for him above all else.
You and I were not created solely for this world. Our home is with our heavenly Father in heaven. Unceasing joy comes from living with the perspective of God rather than the world. Rejoicing comes from trusting that our God is perfectly loving, perfectly real, and perfectly powerful. Spend time in God’s presence experiencing his joy. Allow the Spirit to bear the fruit of joy in your life. Trust in God alone to bring about all that he has planned for you and live your life on the unshakable foundation of his love and joy today.
1. Meditate on God’s desire to fill you with abounding joy.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Galatians 5:22
2. Reflect on your own life. Where are you not experiencing joy? What do you think is stealing your joy in those areas? Ask the Spirit to lead you into the fullness of joy in every area of your life. Trust him as he guides you into a life of faith and submission to God.
“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24
3. Receive the joy of Jesus. Rejoice in him. Rejoice in his plans for your day. Thank him for his love and desire to celebrate in you. Spend time resting in his joyful and peaceful presence.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Seek out the joy of your heavenly Father all day today. When you begin to feel down, burdened, or depressed, spend time rejoicing in God. Allow God to reveal to you his heart for situations in your life. Respond to hard times with celebration in the fact that God will turn what was meant for evil into good if you will commit yourself to his plans and purposes. God’s plan is to fill you with unceasing joy every day of your life. He longs to lay a foundation of his love for you every morning so that you can go out into your day filled with unshakable joy. May his promise in Isaiah 55:12 come to fruition in your life today:
For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Extended Reading: Isaiah 55