It was the night before he would be cruelly murdered. He knew it, but they had no idea. To them what Jesus did was unheard of. He washed their smelly, grimy feet, a chore traditionally performed only by slaves. Peter was so shocked he almost refused it. But this sacrificial act of service began a demonstration of Christ’s love which would culminate with the sacrifice of his very life the next day.
After his betrayer left, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Later that night, as he made his way to the garden of tears, he unveiled his love in words, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love.”
He went on to explain that if we love others with the same sacrificial love he demonstrated towards us, we would remain in his love. This establishes the great cadence of the Christian life, receiving Christ’s love and giving it away. After all, we only love because he first loved us.
Then Jesus makes a connection between love and joy, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Jesus wrote these very important things about love for the purpose of our joy. He’s basically telling us that if we focus on loving others as he’s loved us, we’ll have the joy our hearts crave.
As with our physical hearts, our spiritual hearts are vital to our health. We get our word “courage” from the French word for heart – “cour”. Without a vibrant inner heart we become “dis-couraged” and life becomes drudgery.
What’s the key to a healthy spiritual heart?
Consider the ancient proverb, “A joyful heart brightens one’s face, but a troubled heart breaks the spirit.”
Our hearts were designed to run on joy. When we’re joyful, our inner core is bright, otherwise, our spirits are broken.
Whether we realize it or not, we’re all searching for joy. We were designed for it. But sustained joy can’t be found in worldly affections or smooth circumstances. Lasting joy, producing a vibrant, “en-couraged” heart, can only be found in nearness to God.
David wrote of God: “in your presence is fullness of joy”
Joy is more than a “nice to have” add on to life. It’s fuel for the soul. Jesus wants us to have complete joy. It’s essential to our spiritual health and vital for the courage we need to face the moments of our lives.
Do you want joy?
Jesus tells you how to stay connected with his love and how to have his joy:
love others as he’s loved you.
“for the joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10b
 John 13:34 (NIV)
 John 15:9 (NIV)
 I John 4:19 (NASB)
 John 15:11 (NIV)
 Proverbs 15:13 (CEB)
 From the Latin for heart – “cor”
 Ecclesiastes 3:11
 Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
 John 15:12 (NASB)