Yesterday Pastor Kris quoted a verse that I had just recently added to my memory verse rotation; John 16:24 (HCSB) “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” Now, aside from the astonishing, confusing and sometimes frustrating promise that we will receive what we ask for in Jesus’s name, the piece at the end is what I find interesting. Who doesn’t want complete joy? I know I do, and in these cold doldrums of winter, I wonder how many families need an extra dose of joy? With that in mind, I did a little verse study finding other places where scripture about fulfilled or complete joy. Starting with John 16:24 here is what I found.
One: Asking and Receiving
Who doesn’t like to get what they ask for? This past Christman whenever anyone asked what I wanted, I usually told them gift cards to Lee Valley. Lee Valley is one of the finest places on earth and definitely the place I would spend $1000 if I had it to spend. My family delivered and I’ve been perfecting my online “shopping cart” for a couple of weeks trying to get the most out of every dollar they gave me. What joy!
The asking and receiving of John 16 are a bit different, though. In this verse, Jesus tells his followers that up to that point they had not asked for anything in His name. And while I think receiving what we ask for is the greatest joy, there is one that is greater; a relationship with Jesus.
Back to Christmas for an illustration. When I was a kid we knew how much money our parents spent on each kid and we would often tell them what we wanted for Christmas but put in a caveat that what we really wanted was a different stereo, but that it was more than mom and dad spent, so we intended to return the stereo they got us and upgrade with our other Christmas money. For some reason, this wasn’t an issue with my parents. See, we could ask for whatever we wanted because we knew that they wouldn’t be offended.
Likewise, Jesus isn’t offended when we ask Him for the moon, as long as we ask with the right motivation (see James 4:3 to catch my drift.) There are few things that bring greater joy than an authentic relationship with Christ. If you want real joy, start there!
Two: Visit special friends
In 2 Timothy 1:4 Paul writes his young protege, Timothy, that he longs to see him again so that his joy may be complete. Paul and Timothy had a very special relationship. There is joy in seeing those we are most affectionate for. Being designed for relationships, your sense of joy is closely connected with your most authentic friendships. So visit your dear old aunt Hilde, or call up your friend from across the globe. But also remember that your kids need joy too.
As kids grow older, their sense of joy will increasingly come from friendships outside of the family. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s actually good! And if you want to have a joyful home, make it a place where your kids can bring their friends.
Three: Develop “Sameness”
There are times when we find great joy in the uniqueness of our kids, but strangely we also long for sameness in them. This is what Paul writes about in Philippians 2 where he says, “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal (Phil. 2:1-2).”
Thinking the same way.
Having the same love.
Focusing on one goal.
These are the sameness that Paul said would fulfill his joy. Now can you just imagine what a family like that would look like? I can tell you as our boys grow older we definitely do not think the same way. We don’t agree on curfews, friendships, media usage, etc. but that isn’t what Paul is talking about. He is talking about moving in the same direction. I can tell you when my kids come to me and tell me that they can’t wait until the new foster kid arrives, my joy tank is filled. Those moments of oneness are so precious that they outweigh a thousand joy-sucking arguments about video games!
If you desire to achieve this kind of sameness, you need to pray a lot about it, listen carefully to what God is asking your family to do, and then boldly do what He is asking! Pastor Ray once said, “If you live within your calling, and listen to the Holy Spirit, you can’t fail.” I tend to agree.
I pray that at the end of this coming year your joy as a parent increases as your relationship with Jesus, important friends, and your family members grow deeper!
Share this Post