I’ve been thinking about joy. It’s one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which means He produces it. It is something we can have only by relaxing and receiving it, not something we can (or have to) cobble up on our own. That’s a relief.

Jesus wants us to have these manifestations of His Spirit. He gave those who “saw him with their eyes, looked at Him and touched Him with their hands”–and by extension us–peace: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you–”

He promised us love, the experience of which is conditional on letting Him live in and flow through us: “Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Live in my love, just as I live in my Father’s love.” He wants us to pass this love on.

He said His reason for telling us all this about peace and love and everything else, the purpose, the pay-off, is so that “My joy may be in you.” He told us these things so we will have joy, the same joy He has. Not only have it but”–that your joy may be made full.”

When we eavesdrop on His conversation with his Father just before they would be together again, when He still had one foot on earth and one foot already in heaven (“I am no longer in the world. . . now I come to You”), He says it again. He could have promised us anything in public and then told his Father privately, “I’ve had it with these putzes. They’ll never get it. I can’t wait to get out of here and come home.”

Instead, we hear Him expressing the same heart’s desire for us: “[T]hese things I speak in the world so that they (that’s us) may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” Not only feel and contain it but be filled up and spilling over.

My joy.” He wants me to have His joy. His very own personal joy. His.

I want it. I want to be more aware of it, better at receiving it. I not only want to feel flashes of it when I see little biscuit tin gardens. I not only want to have it somewhere inside of me. I want it filling me to overflowing. I want others to catch it from me. I want to be all about joy.

New Testament: Galatians 5:16 on; St. John chapters 14-17 (specifically 14:27; 15:9-11; and 17:11, 13); I John chapter 1, beginning with verse 1.


About Jessica Renshaw
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