Hi everyone. Rob here.
John Eldredge was once given this bit of advice:
The enemy is out to steal your joy.
In a year like this one – pandemic, lockdowns, economic upheaval, race protests, climate protests, school shutdowns and the normal hard stuff of life – how is your joy?
The thing about joy is that we don’t have to conjure it up. It isn’t generated by us. It is given to us by Jesus. Reflect on this from John 15:9-12:
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Keeping commands is deeply connected to maintaining intimacy. Jesus kept the Father’s commands because he kept on receiving and believing the Father’s love for him. He then passed that love on to his disciples and to you and to me. We are invited to follow the same pattern. We keep presenting ourselves to God so we can receive God’s love in order to pass it on. By doing so we keep the Father’s commands, especially the commands of loving God and loving one another. When we live this kind of life we receive joy, the same joy that Jesus has. Jesus gives us his joy. It’s a joy that is the fruit of a life of love.
When we feel that our joy is being stolen it is often because we are losing our capacity to love. This happens to all of us. The world drains us. the enemy assaults us. Every day we hear that we need to be more and do more. This is why it’s so important to pursue a life of loving intimacy with God. We come to Jesus because he’s our brother and friend and the lover of the church. We come to the Father because we are his beloved children. The Spirit brings this love to our hearts and nurtures us with maternal care. We remember Jesus’ invitation:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
May you know joy, the joy that Jesus knows. It is his joy and he wants to give it to us. May we be anchored in his love and live a life of love so that his joy may be in us. May nothing and no one steal our joy or our capacity to love today.
Grace and peace everyone.