A life with no regret is filled with joy. What things bring you joy? A good book, a long walk, the touch of your loved one, how about watching your kids or grandchildren playing?
But are those things true pictures of the joy Jesus prayed we receive from the Father? When was the last time you were overwhelmed by the love of the Father. When was the last time you were so caught up in Jesus’ joy that it caused you to dance, cry, shout, hug, or stand in awe of God?
How can we experience the full measure of Jesus’ Joy?
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:13-19 ESV
In Jesus’s prayer we find that he is asking God to fill Christians with the full measure of his joy. This could be the single most powerful thing that has ever been prayed for you and I. Jesus, in all his glory, perfection, power, and might prays that we be filled with what gives him the ability to have joy. He prays God takes His joy and gives it to us.
All throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry we find him entering peoples houses, cities, markets, streets, and lives with one purpose. He wanted people to let go of their wants and needs so they could follow him with reckless abandon. The result would be a life filled with Jesus’ joy. Yet, shortly after he enters their lives and fills them with joy, he does the unspeakable. He leaves.
Note: (For examples of these unusual occurrences read through Jesus earthly ministry in the gospels and look for how Jesus entered and exited people’s lives.)
Why would Jesus change their lives just to be gone hours or days later?
- He expected them to connect to others that were changed by his presence and grow together. He ushered them into Biblical community.
- He gave them opportunity to walk in the light he gave them. In other words, He gave them a chance to live in obedience to the things He taught.
- He left them wanting more. His absence created a longing or yearning for more.
What gave people joy during the earthly ministry of Jesus can work for us too. With this basic understating of Jesus’s earthly ministry we can defined JOY as:
J – Joining others in Biblical community
O – Obedience to God’s ways
Y – Yearning to know the Word and God’s ways
So now that we know how to experience the joy of Jesus we need to ask one more question.
In light of Jesus’ prayer what could rob Christians of their Joy?
Jesus doesn’t pray that Christians be protected from other people, world disasters, divorce, or Netflix bingeing. He prayed that Christians be protected from the evil one, Satan. The evil one wants us to be upset with our spouse, miffed because of politics, anxious about bills, worried about surgeries, angry when things don’t go our way, or even happy when they do. He doesn’t want us praying to be protected from him, the manipulator of all turmoil.
STEPS TOWARD A LIFE WITH NO REGRET
We have a choice to make. 1) We can have Jesus’ joy. OR 2) We can be defeated by the evil one. The clear choice to live a life with not regret would be to accept Jesus’ joy. Here’s how:
As we look at each of these statements and associated scripture ask these four questions. 1) What does this scripture say about God? 2) What does this scripture say about man? 3) Is their an example to follow? 4) Is their a command to obey?
- BE CONSUMED IN WORSHIP
28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12: 28-29
- BE SPENT IN SERVICE FOR GOD
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:10
- BE OBSESSED WITH JESUS
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20