“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” [John 15:11]
Finals week, I remember it too clearly as if it were yesterday. So much stress, not enough sleep, head is spinning a million different directions, late nights and early mornings in the library, with the constant feeling that you might be forgetting something. It’s not a fun experience, and can easily be one of the most dreadful things about college. But what if we took everything we knew about God, and applied it to our finals experience?
In this verse in John, Jesus is speaking about his love and the importance in remaining in his love. He says that when we do that we will have Christ’s joy in us and through that our joy will be complete. Did you catch that? God’s love is what makes us completely filled with joy. We live in a world filled with people that constantly strive and search to find something that will bring full satisfaction, when the truth is that this world only provides temporary happiness. To be truly happy and content, we have to look to Christ, and he will fill us with a deep joy.
So let’s talk a little more about this joy that Jesus is telling us is so important to have. I want you to think for a second about a time in your life where you have felt the most joy. Was it after spending time with your family? Worshiping? Getting into UGA? Graduating High School? Winning a sports game? Whatever it was, I want you to know that you can have that same amount of Joy any time you want whether you make all A’s on every single final, or experience a break up. The reason is because the type of joy that Christ offers to those who remain in his love is deeper than any circumstance-based joy.
The song “Joy” by Housefires explains it best, if you haven’t heard it listen to it ASAP. Notice these words from the song:
“You give me joy, down deep in my soul.
Never been so free, caught in your love for me.
Never been more secure knowing your heart Lord.”
You see, when we allow ourselves to look to God to give us joy, we experience freedom. Freedom from worry, freedom from being focused on ourselves and what others think about us because instead we are so caught up in God’s goodness. And by having that freedom, we are fill with true deep joy. A joy that is constant because God is constantly good.
So now that we know about the joy Christ offers us, let’s go back to finals. We have addressed that finals is a time of the year everyone dreads, but if what about our deep rooted joy we just talked about? I encourage you this finals season to ask God to help you to still have joy that is based on him and not your grades. As christians we should see finals week as an incredible opportunity to share Jesus by simply having joy. What if instead of being stressed we had joy? Wouldn’t that stand out to people? People would start to wonder what you had that they do not and would want whatever it is. Finals do not have to be a miserable, stressful season. Let’s bring joy to finals.
Lord I ask that you would help me to find deep joy in YOU and not my circumstances. Help me to have joy instead of stress during finals, and give me the opportunity to shine for you where I can share with others the joy that you give us. Thank you for your goodness.