What Should I Bring?
This week we have learned how joy is a surprise party in the midst of sorrow. We have a happy host. He extends an open invitation into His joy. So when you are invited to a party, what's the next question? What should I bring? What should I bring into the party of God's joy?
In the last post, I referenced John 15:11 and John 17:13. Notice in both verses Jesus mentions "these things."
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.John 15:11, John 17:13
What are "these things?" These things are the things you can bring. If you survey the context of Jesus' prayer, teaching, and conversation from John 15-17 we find "these things." What are "these things" we bring?
Repentance from Sin
The Bible mentions the joy of a repentant, restored sinner more than any other joy. Jesus said that there is much rejoicing in Heaven over a sinner than repents (Luke 15:10). It is repentance from sin that gets the party started.
Obedience to God's Word
The keyword for Jesus in John 15 is "abide." We are to abide in Him. We are to abide in His love. We abide by keeping His commandments (John 15:14). The celebration of joy is BYOB - Bring Your Own Bible. Our relationship with the Lord is not based on emotion or opinion. We know the Lord through the work of His Spirit according to His Word.
The Fruit of His Spirit
If you are coming into God's joy you bring fruit. No, God's not vegan. The Bible says we eat meat (Heb. 5:12-14) but bring fruit (Gal. 5:22-24). And, it should be said, the meat of Hebrews 5 is the meat, substance, solid food of the deeper truths of God's Word. Meat is moving past the elementary principles and into rich doctrines. The fruit of Galatians 5 is the fruit of the Spirit. It is what God's Spirit produces in us, in our attitudes and actions. John 15 - 17 is rich with truth about the work of Spirit in our lives when we abide in Him (John 15:1-11).
An Expectation of Final Redemption
Ultimately, we realize any joy we have in this world is because of the ultimate joy we know that we have in Him. Your joy in this world is at best a pre-party. You are having a great time, but the best is yet to come. In John 16 Jesus tells us that the joy we experience in Him now keeps us from falling away (John 16:1). The ultimate joy comes in His return when He makes all things new. We will see Him and our hearts will rejoice (John 16:22).
He Gives You What You Bring
The amazing thing about our God is that He not only tells you what to bring, He gives you what to bring. If I were to state it more accurately, these are not the things we bring into joy, what God gives are "these things" that bring us into joy. There is joy in obeying the Lord. Pleasing Him brings us into His joy. There is joy in a hopeful future. We know He has not left us alone in a world of sorrow. He is with us and He is coming again. Experiencing His Spirit as He brings about fruit in our lives brings joy.
Read John 15.
- Write the commands to be obeyed.
- Write the promises to be believed.
- Write the principles to be applied.
Take 30 days to read through the Book of John. If you finish it before 30 days, read it again! Each day do the three things listed in the Bible study above. Write the commands. Write the promises. Write the principles. Journal along and note the fruit and fellowship you begin to enjoy in the Lord.