“As the Father has loved me, so have I 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.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Joy. I was filled with gratitude yesterday as I was reminded of the goodness of our God, that He desires our joy. We are to obey regardless of our emotions (emotions are so fickle and lead us astray), but if we’re continually gritting our teeth and merely obeying Him because we have to, that isn’t enough. God doesn’t want somber, downcast servants. He wants us to delight in Him.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 10:12). Our heart needs to be in this. And our God has set a beautiful example, because His heart is in all that He has done for us. “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness…The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:4, 11).
As we let down our walls, God will turn our heart toward what He has commanded. 1 John 5:3 tells us “the commandments of God are not burdensome.” Our God doesn’t want to see us burdened and struggling. He wants to see us free. He desires freedom, peace, and abundant life for us—this is what we find when we surrender to His commands and to the plans of His heart.
It is in this surrender that we truly abide (rest, dwell) in the love of Christ, experiencing His love and the treasure of who He is to a greater extent than ever before.
It is in this surrender that we find fullness of joy in His presence—pure, unhindered, unshadowed joy in the presence of our God who redeems and restores all things.
How amazing it is that our God is constantly working in us to bring us to a place of deeper joy. We bring Him our weaknesses and He pours out grace and strength that is more than enough to meet our need. We confess to Him our sin and He forgives and cleanses completely. We come before His throne and find that our God is faithful and true, never ceasing as He completes the perfecting work He started in us. A work that will result in our unending, joy-filled praise to the glory of His grace.