John 15: 11 “So that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete”
Jesus never does things in half-measures. When it comes to joy he wants our joy to be complete. Nothing missing. Our verse reads, “that your joy may be complete”. Sometimes it’s translated “that your joy may be full.” This reminds me of the image of the man in the sixth chapter of St Luke who, for his generosity, is given a “good measure” from God, “pressed down, shaken together and flowing over.” This joy is testified to by the Holy Spirit, of whose presence joy is the unmistakable sign. It is the joy of Christ himself that is poured into us by that same Spirit. For the person who has encountered the Lord, the joy of Jesus is visible and palpable. Many times we’ve heard about a visitor to one of our community prayer meetings being overwhelmed by the joy they witnessed.
This is the joy I experienced in an early encounter with the Charismatic Renewal. In 1978 I was attending my first Charismatic conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When I entered the convention center I heard, then felt, then saw more than 25,000 people in exuberant joy. I, too, was stunned. In time I came to experience this same joy as a regular component of the prayer meetings of the People of Hope and of my brothers in the Brotherhood of Hope. What became clear to me is that this joy is a fruit of unity which the Holy Spirit brings. We had a common desire to know, love and serve the Lord and he validated that desire with his gift of supernatural joy. What I witnessed was a community of people committed to following the Lord Jesus and to find ways to live his command to love one another. It is a pattern I have seen repeated in many of the communities I have visited over the years.
When I first met the men who were forming the Brotherhood of Hope I was really impressed with both how normal they were – basic, well-grounded men who loved God – and were filled with a compelling and authentic joy.
We are called to live this joy confidently, freely and generously! When we do, we enable others to encounter the Author of joy so that their ‘joy may be complete.’
PRAYER: Lord Jesus you promised to make our joy complete. Please send your Holy Spirit on us this week so that through the outpouring of that same Spirit your joy may be fulfilled in us and our unity deepened. Through us may others come to know your love and perfect joy.
Today’s testimony is by Salim Baz (Orthodox) from Lebanon.