I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. - Rabindranath Tagore
(Gospel Text John 15:9-11)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father's commandments
and remain in his love.
"I have told you this so that
my joy might be in you and
your joy might be complete."
This may come as a surprise to many because we think joy depends on doing our own thing rather than God's thing. However, let the facts speak for themselves. Possibly never before has a culture been so preoccupied with feeling good, pleasure-seeking, and centered on selfish pursuits. Yet there is so much discontent, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and apathy. These are telltale signs something's very wrong. We've tried to gain our lives but, just as Jesus said, we've lost them (Lk 9:24).
If we refuse to learn by believing, maybe we can learn by failing.
The question is: do we really want Jesus' type of joy, that is, "complete joy," or would we rather have a cheap, temporary joy? To answer that question, let's look at what constitutes Jesus' joy:
Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). The Spirit is given to those who obey God (Acts 5:32). Joy and unselfishness are linked (Phil 4:4-5). To have Jesus' complete joy, we must die to self (Lk 9:23), obey Jesus, and want what He wants, not what we want. Then we will rejoice with His joy that no one can take from us