Daily encouragement

Video by

Chad Smith

ACF Devo Team

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John 15:11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Behind the Scenes

When we read Jesus saying, “These things I have spoken to you,” it certainly begs the question, what things? Especially when we consider the stakes: Jesus spoke “these things” that our joy may be full! This section of John records Jesus’ final pep talk to his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. He starts with the bad news in John 13, saying one of them will betray him. But then, he comforts them by describing his Father’s house, promising the arrival of the Holy Spirit, and giving them a metaphor to chew on.

Jesus calls himself the True Vine in John 15. He refers to his followers as the branches, saying a branch cannot bear fruit if it is not connected to the Vine. He crescendos with this instruction, just before today’s verse: “Abide in my love.”

Make it Real

This metaphor of vines, branches, and fruit is so fitting as we consider joy. Afterall, in Galatians 5, joy is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. And while many people who don’t know Christ might experience moments of joy, for our joy to be full, Jesus says we must abide in him. Abide is an active verb meaning to stay or remain. How do we actively remain connected to Jesus so that we can manifest this fruit of the Spirit?

Jesus actually gives his disciples a pretty straightforward action step, telling them, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:10,12-13).

Joy that is full isn’t a feeling we conjure up. It isn’t fleeting happiness, and it isn’t based on our circumstances. It is based on our connection to Christ. Interestingly “abide” can also mean to accept or act in accordance with, as in “a law-abiding citizen.” We remain connected to Christ, the True Vine, by accepting and acting in accordance with his great command to love as he loves us.

Missionary Amy Carmichael once said, “For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water however suddenly jolted.” When we are filled to the brim with the love of Jesus, no matter what comes our way and no matter what circumstances may jolt us, what will spill out of our lives is love. This is convicting for me, because when I am jolted, it’s often fear, anger, and harshness that come spilling out–not love. How about you? What spills out of your life?

Paul tells us in Romans 5:5 that, “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” But he also prays this for the Thessalonians: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5). God has poured out his love for us, but maybe your heart needs to be redirected to that great love. Mine certainly does. And what better time than advent to consider and meditate on the love of our Savior and King–love that took on flesh and dwelt among us.

End in Prayer

Loving Father, please direct my heart to your love that you have so graciously poured into my heart. Help me to make space this day and throughout this season to encounter this love that surpasses understanding. Help me, Holy Spirit, to comprehend the breadth and the length and the height and the depth. Let me be filled to the brim so that no matter what jolts me, I will spill out sacrificial love, that my joy may be full. Forgive me for all the times when this has not been the case, and lead me in paths of righteousness today, that I might glorify you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Written by

Hailey Schroeder

ACF Devo Team