The secret to joy is found in a vineyard. Does this surprise anyone?
I know what you’re thinking… Is this finally a post about wine? Sorry … I don’t write about wine, I merely drink it. #toomuchinformation #idrinkredwineformyheart
A treasured secret is found in the final discourse of Jesus in chapter 15 of the gospel of John. It’s not just instructions regarding love and obedience… it holds so much more. This chapter tells us how we should live our lives. Not just what we should give our life for, but how we should spend our days here.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:9-13
Wedged between words speaking of love, obedience, abiding and relationship we uncover a gem… a secret, a promise, a whisper. We find the recipe for joy. It is not found in wealth, pleasure, success, it is found in Him, through Him. It is found in the act of abiding in Him. Remaining in His love. We receive His joy. Joy that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Whatever brings us to our knees brings us to our Savior. The suffering of this world causes us to fall to our knees in desperation and we find hidden there in His presence… joy. Not circumstantial happiness that can and so often does fade, but true joy that never fails to complete us.
The trouble of this world (John 16) brings us to the answer in our Savior, the One who overcomes this world. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2.
Nothing will grab your attention quicker than pain. As C.S. Lewis writes, “Pain is God’s megaphone.” The suffering reminds us in a moment of our need. We fall to our knees and we abide in Him. He wraps us in His love and at that same moment He whispers to our soul. He takes the static and noise of our life and tunes us into His stillness and peace. Like a radio station slightly off the mark He adjusts our soul and the static is replaced with peace.
Our hearts are designed for this stillness and we receive joy as our soul embraces His rest. Suddenly, we see with clarity, the fog is gone. We see the things that matter to God. We see through the lens of love.
By remaining in God’s love and loving others we find our joy. We find God’s joy.
The world offers a counterfeit version of God’s joy… it’s called pleasure. Pleasure is not a bad thing, however pleasure as the deciding factor of our decisions is bad. Pleasure is not bad, but it certainly is not joy. Pleasure is fleeting, it doesn’t last and it’s contingent on things going the way we want.
When suffering hits there is no pleasure, it isn’t even possible. Things that used to bring pleasure no longer do. If a favorite food could invoke feelings of pleasure, during suffering that food is tasteless. Pain makes it impossible to feel pleasure. But pain does not keep us from experiencing joy. The only thing that has the power to keep us from living in Joy is our decision to live apart from God. When we abide in Him we receive His joy. #focusedfaith #sufferingleadstojoy
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