John 15: 9-11 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Jesus really wants us to be happy.  And he knows what will satisfy us the most – that is “remaining in him and obeying him”.

He makes amazing claims.  Not only is he not the cosmic meany who wants to block what will make me happy, he is claiming that he can and already has arranged for me to have complete joy.

Who or what ever claims to offer you complete joy?   A house makeover, a body makeover, a new car, a new wardrobe, a new husband, a new job, how about just a new cell phone (can anyone say Verizon iPhone – at last!!)..None of these even pretends to claim to offer us joy, let alone complete joy.  But here is Jesus, explicitly going out on a limb and informing us that he knows us well enough to provide what we cannot even imagine will satisfy us.

I, Maria, don’t even know what will provide me joy. Yet…this offer of his joy, of total joy..it  beckons and stands alone in the universe, unrivaled by anyone, anything.

Hmm…and it doesn’t sound like it will cost me much.  I don’t have to give up my job, my residence, my husband, my money, my habits….(my comfort foodJ  )  All I have to do is…..well..OBEY Him.  Okay, so what does Jesus command?  That’s a bit harder.  There are all sorts of commands in the Bible.  Do I look in the Old Testament or the New?

I can’t be too quick to narrow my scope to the New Testament, just because I am a Christian.  After all, Jesus announces he didn’t come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.  But didn’t the Son of God himself boil the cumbersome laws to just 2 commands – Love God…Love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36)  But wait a moment – there are OTHER two-law summaries. In 1 John 3:23, John reports Jesus as saying –“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”   And in Mark 1:15 – Jesus commands us to repent and believe the good news. So what is a sincere Christian to do?

Here is what I conclude.  Jesus tells us that if we abide in him and his word abides in us, (John 15: 7) then we can ask for guidance about what to do and he will instruct us.  There is no other ONE SIZE FITS ALL guideline than this.  Saturating ourselves with his word is enough.  When we take in and meditate on scripture, then we can think through propositional truth, what I call ‘Major Premises’ and they help us make decisions.

Here is an illustration.  I was making Coq au Vin for a small dinner party Sunday night.  As I was dredging the chicken thighs and legs in flour to brown, my first thought was “poor chicken – he/ she was slaughtered for me to eat” and I started down the PETA –path.  Then I quickly was pulled back to reality by a Biblical major premise, by a propositional truth. I was reminded that, ‘God has given us animals to eat and has blessed that gift in a conversation with both Noah in the OT (Gen 9:3) and Peter in the NT (Acts 10:13)’.  From there it was a quick move to 1 Cor 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

My joy was quickly restored and the guests enjoyed the chicken.J