Thursday, June 01, 2006

mobile happiness

Jesus said in John 15:11 "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

It is clear from this statement that there is a direct relationship between what we hear from Jesus and the state of our joy.
That makes sense. When we get news that tells us good things are happening we naturally sense some level of happiness or joy. When Jesus spoke of the abiding presence of God in our lives He certainly knew that such news would make our joy complete if we would receive it.

The other day I received some news that brought me joy. Interestingly enough, I did not let the news take up residence (abide) in my heart and produce joy because it sounded too good to be true. Having been "burned" in the past I was not ready to ride a new wave of joy only to be dumped by the crashing wave of disappointment. In this particular case I was right to have waited for further word. The good news soon turned to bad news. I had not wasted my emotions on receiving false information.

An essential part of abiding is to go ahead and receive what Jesus is saying as a completely settled reality. That is how He lived. He had no doubts about His Father's love. He was abiding in that love and it produced a full joy in Him each day. Are we doing the same or are we waiting for further news?

Jesus' plan for His joy was to make His joy "mobile". That is, He wanted His joy to be in us and not dependent on exterior circumstances so we could freely and joyfully move about in this world. This can only happen if we will simply receive His message and let the joy it produces fill us up.
When we do, we are liberated from the need for our happiness to be circumstantial. Instead, our happiness becomes based on facts that cannot and will not change.

This "mobile happiness" is a powerful force in the world. It makes it possible for disciples to move about freely without fear of messing up their source of happiness. Most people need external stability to have happiness. A disicple of Jesus that is bound to a place for happiness is truly a contradiction. We are to be bound to a person for happiness but never to a place. "Follow Me" still means exactly what it says.

Do you remember the words of the TV commercial for a mobile phone company that said over and over "Can you hear me now?"
In the spiritual realm Jesus is saying each moment "Will you hear me now?" When you will not hear Him, watch how quickly your joy diminishes and your happiness starts depending more and more on other visible sources. Listening is receiving. All spiritual reality--abiding---depends on receiving as true what God has said to us through His Son.

Having "mobile" happiness is a true teasure. It makes us willing to risk and follow. I hope your happiness can roam wherever God is leading. There is no place on earth where God lacks the coverage needed to make our joy complete.

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