September 1, 2011
Emotions in Christ
The Joy of Christ
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Recently a friend of mine told me about his plans to marry a woman. I mentioned to him that a marriage built only upon feelings will not last, because feelings come and feelings go. In fact, our feelings can seriously and frequently mislead us. God gave you the capacity to have many feelings, and conflicting feelings. God also gives to every believer the power to have God control your feelings, and produce feelings from Him that transcend normal human feelings. As God changes your life from the inside out, you begin to experience new feelings, particularly as the Holy Spirit ministers in your life.
Abiding in Christ. As Jesus prepared to leave His fleshly body, He gave instructions to His disciples in John 14-17. Jesus emphasized that the Holy Spirit would come and abide within His disciples. He also taught them that Jesus Himself would abide within them. Instead of hopelessly missing Jesus, the disciples would have Jesus abiding with them spiritually and working within them. Jesus explained to them that the Father has loved the Son, and the Son has loved them. Jesus urges them to abide in His love and keep His commandments. Jesus tells His disciples about all kinds of wonderful new ministry opportunities they will now experience, and also about new emotions that will control them.
The Joy of Jesus. In John 15:11, Jesus described a particular kind of joy (“χαρὰ“) within Himself. Jesus used a word order here to emphasize the uniqueness of His joy. Notice too that having the joy of Jesus in your heart depends upon: (1) knowing the truths Jesus explained above in John 15:1-10, and (2) keeping the commandments of Jesus (John 15:11). If you want to have the joy of Jesus in your heart, it will only come as a product of keeping His commandments. If you lack the joy of Jesus today, start with evaluating your personal obedience to Jesus. Are you doing the things He commanded you to do? I hear so much talk today about not controlling other people. Our world tends to vilify all talk about control. People disparage another person as too “controlling.” Jesus seeks absolute control of your life, and wants to control everything you do, think, say, and feel. He wants His joy to be your joy. No book, no video, no poem, no song, nothing and no one can you give you the joy of Jesus Christ, except Him alone. His joy relates directly to doing His will. Everything else only tries to counterfeit the real and supernatural joy that only Jesus gives to His disciples.
The Full Joy of Jesus. Jesus continued in the same verse by saying that not only did He want His disciples to have His joy, but He also wanted them to have their joy “made full” (“πληρωθῇ“). In other words, Jesus intended for all of His disciples to have His joy within them, and also for their joy to made full, or complete. Take a moment and ponder seriously what plans you had for today. Are you seriously considering that Jesus wants your day to be full of His joy? God never wants any of us to have a miserable day, if we are walking in His plans and doing His works. No matter what comes today, the joy of Jesus should be making our own joy full in Him. Keep in mind this simple principle from Jesus: what you do today will control how you feel today. Your emotions relate directly to what you are doing.
So we learn more about the joy of Jesus today.
● Jesus intends for me to keep His commandments every day.
● As I keep His commandments, the joy of Jesus will be within me.
● Jesus intends that His joy make my joy completely full in Him today.
Application for Today
As I live today, I am going to pay particular attention to doing what Jesus wants, because I want to experience His joy today. No, really–I am going to bank on the truth of God’s Word so that I will have the joy of Jesus Christ in my life today. As we focus upon doing the will of Jesus, we stop focusing upon all the things that bring stress and depression into our lives. We overcome stress and negative emotions by doing the will of God. Will have the joy of Jesus by keeping His commandments today?