February 4, 2008 Ration

John 15:11

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

There is a joy that Jesus knows that He desires others to know along with Him. What is that joy? Is it not the Father’s love? Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (15:9-10). Jesus thoroughly enjoys the full love of the Father, and He holds out an invitation to the disciples that they might enjoy the joy of the Father’s love that He enjoys, so that their joy may be full.

So, evidently, there is a possibility of knowing joy in a certain measure without knowing the full potential of joy for any given pleasure. Has not God made all things? And has not God crafted things to be pleasurable to the human body? Artists, hear this: your joy is not full in your artistic pleasures if you are not enjoying the love of the Father in them. Do you enjoy the love of the Father in His pleasure in creating sound, color, aroma, taste, texture, etc...? There is more joy to be enjoyed in what is pleasurable, if only your pleasure palate is capable of tasting Jesus’ joy in them. Only in Jesus is every pleasure able to be enjoyed in full, be it food, music, conversation, sex, relationships, paintings, painting, etc..., because only in Jesus can anyone know the full love of the Father in His design for creating things to be pleasurable. The Father is fullness of Joy! “…In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Jesus’ joy is the love of the Father. Earlier in the chapter, Jesus says that He is the vine and that the Father is the vinedresser who cuts off the fruitless branches and prunes the fruit-bearing branches in order that they would bear more fruit. The Vinedresser loves the Vine! The branches that bear fruit will themselves enjoy the love that the Vinedresser and the Vine enjoy already. Here is the reality for the branch: a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the Vine. Apart from the Vine, the branch can do nothing. So then, unless we abide in the Vine, whatever appears to resemble fruit dangling off the ends of our little withering twigs, will surely prove to be only an abscess of the black rot fungus: "the pride of man." Fullness of joy can never be tasted from these grapes.

Artists, we must abide in Jesus, the Vine. Outside of the Vine, we cannot know the fullness of joy, because outside of Christ we cannot know the full love of the Father. A measure of the Father’s love is tasted by all men as He gives them sun and rain, food and drink, and enjoyments of every kind, but the fullness of joy that is to be enjoyed of the Father’s love is only known when abiding in the Son.

So we should test the juices of our pleasures, artists, to see if it is actually the love of the Father that we are drinking and enjoying, or might it be a cheap, foul, water-heavy brew of the devil’s distilleries? The devil’s hops flower from the roots of Pride. “You don’t need Christ’s sap to nourish your veins, your veins are full of sap already,” he deceitfully whispers, trying to convince us to completely abandon the life source of the Vine and plant ourselves elsewhere in the various soils of the world. But the Father’s fullest pleasures are pressed from the grapes that He cultivates. And unless we abide in that Vine, in the Father’s vineyard, our pleasures in the fruit of the cup will never be enjoyed in full.

Artists, enjoy the love of the Father for His Son as it manifests itself though every various fruit that blossoms from the Vine of Christ, so that your joy in what God has designed for your enjoyment may be full!

Jason Harms


© 2008 The Gaius Project