Chapter 22 -- The Love Joy Connection
I guess it is actually pretty obvious: there is a connection between joy and love. Just look at people who are in love…They are pretty happy.
Okay, perhaps I am no Sherlock Holmes for stating the absolutely obvious. George Orwell said, “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” In other words, when it’s a nice pretty day, why do we need to say so? Because it’s good to say what we know to be true and sometimes it makes us appreciate it all the more! And honestly, sometimes we miss the absolutely obvious!
Ponder the opposite. Without a loving heart, there is very little joy. When Paul listed the fruit of the Spirit, he actually listed only one fruit: love. The other eight are subcategories of that fruit of love, and he begins with joy.
But Paul is not the only one who points out the absolutely obvious. Jesus spoke in John 15:8, “By this My Father is glorified that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have 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 remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Yes, that “love as I have loved you” should sound a little familiar. It was Jesus’ new commandment and a deeper love than the Old Testament’s love your neighbor as yourself, and even deeper than loving those who may not be your neighbor, seen in the Good Samaritan parable.
Chaplain Gary Davis gave us a formula yesterday: The God=love. This week’s memory verse from John 15:11 is sandwiched between two passages on love. Perhaps a formula could be Abidance in love=Jesus joy = Our full made joy = Loving like Christ.
If you are not a fan of mathematical equations, then consider singing the little children’s song, “This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full,” which may not be a direct quote of John 15:11-12, but it is pretty close!
Paul also spoke about being full of joy when believers were like-minded and having the same love, being of one accord and one mind (See Phil. 2:2). Full joy comes by loving others as Christ loved us.
Another way to bring about full joy is through prayer. “Ask and you will receive that your joy may be full” (John 16:6). It is Jesus’s delight to bring us full joy when we are in obedience to Him. In His high priestly prayer, Jesus said that His coming to the right hand of the Father to intercede for the believers will bring us joy fulfilled (John 17:13).
John ties these two things, loving others and having fellowship with God, together in 1 John 1:3-4, “We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. Our fellowship will then join with the fellowship of the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy and your joy full and complete!” (my paraphrase).
Okay, so I’m no sleuth detective or profound theologian for discovering this truth that love and joy go together. But sometimes, it’s good to state the absolutely obvious, even if it is to remind us what should be as plain as the nose on our face!