Joy in Action requires some work from us. We'll explore that today.
When my kids were little, I created the 3-Time Rule: If you've already said/done something 3 times, that's enough. This came in handy more times than I can count.
"Mom, can I____?" - Let me think about it. "But Mom..." - I don't know. Let me think about it. "Mom!" and so on. Or yelling and loud play while I'm on the phone. "That's 1...2...3. Go to your rooms."
You see, I'm easily bothered by repetition. So it's something that (1) I pick up on in scripture when I see it, (2) makes my eyes glaze over at a certain point. There's one passage in scripture (No, not in the "begat" section) that usually makes my head swim. And it's our focus today. Check out John 15:1-11
John 15:1-17 contains an extended analogy about spiritual growth, presented by Jesus Christ himself. He calls Himself the Vine and Father God the Gardener (v.1) Verse 2 tells us that God looks to see that we are fruitful, and, if not, He will cut off that branch. He will also prune those branches that do bear fruit so that they will produce more. Ouch!
That's a lot to process in just 2 verses, and that's not even our focus today.
Let's look at verse 4, where my brain really starts to overload. John 15:4 says, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
The definition of this critically important word is [to continue in the same state; to stay behind or in the same place]
We are to stay connected to Christ (v.5). He is the vine, and we are the branches. If we remain connected to Him, the promise is that He will be there for us. We have to be connected to bear fruit, because no branch can bear fruit alone. Which brings us to #2.
(2.) Replicate: Bear fruit.
We must show up and do something that qualifies as "fruitful" for the Kingdom of God. This isn't a coast-along life. We must be productive. Even when we are Self-Isolating. There are consequences if we don't remain and bear fruit. (see v. 6)
If we stay connected to Him and His words remain in us, our prayers carry more weight (v.7). Scripture memory is so very important! The Word of God is our sword, and here is clear proof of the benefits of hiding His Word in our hearts. Sitting around home bored? Memorize some verses!
The end of that verse states that we can ask what we will and it will be given - but we have to remember the conditions: A-Remain in Christ, and B- Keep His Word in us. This also shows an expectation that we WILL be praying...and Memorizing Scriptures!
It glorifies God when we bear lots of fruit (v.8) and it shows we are His. Another sign that we are His is our obedience. Verse 10 says, "IF you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I (Christ) have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love." Our obedience helps us remain!
Okay, that's all well and good, you say, But what does any of this have to do with Joy?
Let me tell you. When I looked at verse 11 this week, I knew we had to explore all of this: John 15:11 says, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
I don't know about you, but I want Christ's complete joy in me. I'm going to study this passage that He gave so that His joy can be in me, and my joy can be complete.
Dearest Lord Jesus, thank you for sharing this word with us. Help us to receive it on every level and give us your joy. Help us to remain in You, replicate Your love to grow the Kingdom, Remember the Word, Request from within Your will, Respond to Your commands and Receive this insurmountable joy.