Tuesday, February 4, 2014

That Your Joy may be Complete

John 15:1  "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.2  He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3  You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4  Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5  I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6  Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9  As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10  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. 11  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

John writes of the invitation of Jesus to find “complete joy”. Jesus teaches that we are not truly whole until we discover our connection to God. As a branch of vine needs to be connected to the stem and roots to become fruitful, so we are invited to be connected to God, who will supply all we need for fruitful lives.

Prayer, reading the Scriptures, worship, and fellowship with other Jesus-followers are all ways to ‘abide’ in God’s love. Reaching out to those who struggle in life - the poor, the people on the margins, the depressed, and the lonely - are all ways to see the fruit God at work in our lives. Both “abiding” and “fruit” are essential ingredients for complete joy.

            Lord, Thy Word abideth,
            And our footsteps guideth;
            Who its truth believeth
            Light and joy receiveth.
 Hen­ry W. Bak­er

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 71.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.    

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