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 be in you, and that your joy may be full.
We have been looking at JOY and what we can do to have it in our lives. The first thing we examined was the fact that, to have JOY, we have to want it. We have to accept personal responsibility for it...we must have a commitment to JOY if we want to experience it.
We took a long look at what it means to have a commitment to joy and how that plays out in our lives. But that's not the only thing that can is necessary to have JOY. It is vital to realize another Truth from Scripture -- and that is the Truth about SIN. So much of the time, the reason we lack JOY is not because we don't want it, and not because God doesn't desire us to have it, but because it is blocked from our lives due to sin.
The next key, after "commitment to JOY", is called "consecration of self".
Let's see what that means...
Read that passage from John 15 again but this time, let's begin with verse 11 - Jesus is speaking to His disciples and He says "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full".
His JOY in us. Our JOY made full. Yes, sign us up, right?
So what is the condition for that promise to be fulfilled, the cause of that effect? "These things I have spoken"....what are "these things"?
"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".
Keeping His commandments. Abiding in Him. I like to call it "consecration of self".
That is what brings us into His presence..into the place of fullness of joy.
From that, we understand that the opposite of keeping His commandments - SIN - is what prevents us from experiencing His joy.
How many times do we chalk up our lack of joy to things like stress, other people, difficult circumstances, etc when , really, it's that we are tolerating sin in our lives? We lie to ourselves, ignoring the sin in our lives and blaming our misery instead on all other things. Sometimes I think we have even forgotten what real joy is! We have convinced ourselves that a life of complacent drudgery is normal!!!
Meanwhile, we continue in sin. All kinds of ways that we fall short of God's glory. Immorality. Greed. Coveteousness. Anger. Selfishness. Unforgiveness. We deny it, excuse it, and refuse to deal with, all the while forfeiting the JOY He has for us if we would just obey.
So the solution? It's to consecrate ourselves. To set ourselves apart from self and pursue the purpose of God. Let the light of His Word reveal the sin in our lives. And then forsake it. Not just "confess it" but also to repent! Stop sinning! Live a life of consecration - of obedience...of "joy made full".
Could it be that the reason you lack JOY today is because you are tolerating sin?
Consecrate yourself. Don't worry about moving to a third world country - just obey what He shows you right now. Stop sinning. Start obeying what you know to do. He will show you every step to take. Walk in the light you already have. Stop sinning.