“That my joy may be in you.” Jn 15:11 NIV
Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” The joy Jesus is talking about is unique: “My joy.” And it’s fulfilling in a way that the world’s happiness isn’t: “That your joy may be complete.” Being a faithful follower of Christ’s teachings brings inner joy that’s real and resilient regardless of economic indicators, interest rates, government deficits, and even disease or death. You can’t be happy without being joyful, but you can be joyful without being happy! How’s that possible? Jesus had previously told His disciples that we enjoy a love which transcends all others—the love of our heavenly Father that’s unconditionally offered, and once accepted, is permanently experienced. Nothing can compare to the love of God. His love isn’t based on looks, personality, wealth, or even moral goodness. It’s offered without any preconditions. And it’s neither fickle nor failing. You can’t do anything to make God love you more, and you can do nothing to make Him love you less. Furthermore, divine love doesn’t just give you “warm fuzzies.” It’s constantly at work to direct you toward making wise decisions, to protect you from making poor ones, and to correct you when you make bad ones. God’s love guarantees His acceptance when all others have rejected you, His forgiveness when all others have judged you, and His mercy when all others have condemned you. When you bask in His love, you experience a wellspring of joy bubbling up in your heart. And since the world didn’t give you this joy—the world can’t take it away.