Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Day Thirty-Five - Joy, the Word of God, and Prayer

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, 
and that your joy may be full.” 
John 15:11

While it may be difficult, at least initially, to understand how Jesus uses warnings, pruning, and suffering for our joy, it is not difficult to understand how he uses his word and prayer to this end. Imagine what joy would be ours if the following words were descriptive of our lives: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). There is no greater joy in life than to be in such communion with our heavenly Father that he is pleased—not occasionally but always pleased—to answer our prayers. 

Consider the words of Jesus, John, and King David. “But now I am coming to you [the Father], and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves…Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full…And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete…The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb…Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day…How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth...I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law” (John 17:13; 16:24; 1 John 1:4; Psalm 19:9-10; 119:97, 103, 163; emphasis mine). 

Abiding in Christ gives us life. The Word of Christ shapes our hearts and minds and prayers. Humble and biblical pleading with Christ moves the heart of God. Being so moved, God eagerly answers our prayers. Answered prayers are the fruit of the vine. The fruit of the vine brings glory to God. And every step of this process brings great joy to our souls, in God’s time and way. 

Thus it is that Christ spoke “these things” for our joy, and all that remains for us is to learn to walk in the way he has shown us. 

Prayer Focus: Pray that the Father will teach us to abide in Christ, saturate our lives with his Word, pray without ceasing, and bear the fruit of the vine. Pray that the Father will give us the joy he has prepared for us in Christ from before the foundation of the world.

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