If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed 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. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:10-12 NIV). You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:28-30). If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:1-3).
I have known exceptionally joyful times. These include holidays, vacations, special family events, and occasional seasons of worship. These joyful events involved spiritual highs, intellectual breakthroughs, and once in a lifetime experiences. However, there have been only a few times when I could say that I have truly experienced complete joy: my wedding day, the birth of my children, the rebirth of my children, and recently when our son was married.
He has known his wife most of her life. We have known her family since before any of us had children. They have prayed and prepared and waited and planned. Their decision to become husband and wife is the answer to numberless prayers, and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams.
What created this completely joyful weekend?
Everyone involved was like-minded. The only concern of everyone involved was that the weekend would be what the bride and groom wanted it to be. From the flower lady to the flower girl, from the caterer to the videographer, and from the mothers to the brothers and sister, all attention was given to the bride and the groom.
Egos were shelved. Whatever it took to make it possible for the couple to live their dream is all anyone wanted. It was their day. It was their wedding. It was their time.
Sacrifices were made. Family and friends traveled long distances, went to great expense, and were willing to give whatever was needed to make the day special.
Love was obvious. You could see it in the eyes of the bride and the groom. You could see it in the eyes of the parents as they reflected on how swiftly the years have flown. You could hear it in the verbal expressions of love, respect, and appreciation shared by the friends and family members. You could feel it simply by being present.
We experienced complete joy. You can too, and it may not necessarily involve a wedding. When we surrender our wills to His, get rid of our egos, sacrifice for the good of others, welcome God's presence into our lives, and express our love to one another the Scriptures promise that our joy can be complete. You can experience it today by giving your life to Him completely. Joy is His promise to us.
It is time. The world needs to see it. Let the joy be complete!