Joy in Obedience

Day Three—January 5, 2022

John 11-15

John 14:17

Free indeed and joy in obedience. To some, these two ideas may be in juxtaposition to one another. Admittedly, when I hit publish on my post yesterday, writing about freedom without joy in obedience felt like antinomianism.

In gospel living, freedom and joy in obedience are like peanut butter and jelly, Lexington and Wildcat hoops, or Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Freedom and joy in obedience exist together in Jesus. It was God’s plan before the fullness of time to send His Son (Jesus) so His (God the Father) people would be loved freely—not based on a human record but on the substitutional record of Christ—and find joy in following Christ and His teachings (obedience).

As I was reading on in John today, I was grateful for the words of Jesus when He says to His disciples, “that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full,” (15:11). Jesus is speaking to His disciples right before His crucifixion, He knew He was leaving His friends (15:13) but promising them joy as they serve Him after His departure—life for the disciples after Jesus’s departure was not a day at the beach—but He promises them complete joy as they serve Him.

How can we have joy in obedience? Well, in John 14, Jesus promised His Spirit would be given, He would leave His Word, and He would leave His peace. The Spirit enables those who believe to have joy in obedience. This happens because those redeemed by Jesus now have union with Christ through an indwelling of a Spirit that is not of this world. And this brings us back to freedom—it is the Spirit who gives us joy in obedience. It’s not about us and our desires, those redeemed by Jesus live a life fueled by Jesus and His desires through the Spirit.

Whoa. I know. Way cooler than Lexington and Wildcat hoops (I write that to tease my Lexington native husband a bit.)

Final thought on this reading today. As I was teasing this out on my bike ride, I came back to Christ’s full humanity and full deity. Christ can give us assurance of His peace and joy in obedience as we live on earth because He was fully human. John 11 when John writes about the death of Lazarus. We see Jesus’s humanity through the telling of this story. Jesus was deeply moved, His soul was troubled, and He wept—also He knows He is going to be betrayed by those He called friends. We are promised peace in this world and joy in obedience by a Savior who dwelt in this world and experienced real emotions. He understands what it means to be deeply moved, troubled, and He understands mourning, weeping, loss, and betrayal.

What a glorious Savior.

These Chapters were so rich, and I am trying to discipline myself to only write for thirty minutes.

In addition to who Christ is from Day One and Day Two, in John 11-15 there were some big statements about who Christ is: the resurrection and the life, called King of Israel, the way, the truth, and the life, the true vine, a friend of the disciples which is greater than a master or a teacher.

Tomorrow will be my last day in John, I am cautiously and optimistically thinking about Isaiah for my next stop on this journey.

I have given you a forest level view of these chapters. For a closer look at the trees, check out this resource from CDM. I had the joy and privilege to write two entries for this devotional alongside the very talented women on CDM’s National Women’s Ministry Team: Abide In Me

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