Unveiling the Joyful Abundance of a Relationship with Jesus
As I’ve been preparing my heart for Christmas, I am reminded of the joyful abundance we find in a relationship with Jesus. The Passion Translation has enamored me. I don’t know if the use of vivid words or passionate expressions draws me to feel what the writers are conveying. Its words have opened up an area of my heart to receive the Lord in a new way.
So, when I read John 15:1-17, I thought it would be perfect to share with you this December. Its specific use of words reminded me of the power of a relationship with Jesus. Below is an excerpt.
I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the Vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the Vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.
I am the sprouting Vine, and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me, you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire, and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!
I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I continually live nourished and empowered by his love. My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness! (John 15:1-11, TPT)
There is so much in this beautiful passage. I’ve sat with it for days. Re-reading and trying to glean what God desires me to take away.
In these verses, Jesus shares how we can live abundant lives with Him. Lives where we have the genuine, lasting peace, contentment, and joy we desperately need. This type of life begins with knowing who our Heavenly Father is through the pages of Scripture.
Joyful abundance is found through a relationship with Jesus.
When I study Scripture, I go through a process called CHAT. The CHAT Bible Study method deepens our relationship with Jesus. It’s a method I developed to help you study the Bible. At its roots, it’s reading a passage of Scripture and gleaning from it both the characteristics of God and ourselves as a follower. And from there, we can discern what it means to follow Him daily. I will be sharing more on that in 2024. So stay tuned.
Using the CHAT Bible Study Method with this passage, I am looking for how the Lord is described. Or how I see His Majesty displayed throughout the passage. Doing this reminds me of who He is and who I am in Him.
Friends, time with Jesus, and abiding in Him enrich our lives in more ways than we recognize. When we carve out time to be with Him, praising and worshiping, He envelops us with His love and infuses us with contentment that can only come from Him.
Praise and worship infuse our souls with a spirit of gratitude, deepening our connection with Jesus.
From there, we receive His rest, refreshment, and joy. Through our connection, streams of life-giving water flow from within us, and we experience the fruitfulness Jesus promises.
Here’s the truth:
A life union doesn’t happen in isolation. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to remind us and teach us how best to stay connected in our current stage of life.
Following Jesus is best done in community.
We need a community of believers surrounding us so we can encourage and learn from each other. This happens in a variety of ways. Through a small group, serving, a Bible Study, and or attending church.
Our desire for a life of contentment and joy is hard-wired in our souls. We can only find it through a daily connection, a life union, with our Heavenly Father.
In our life union with Jesus, we stay in step with Him. We receive daily refreshment with Him and experience true, lasting contentment and joy. As we abide in Him, we will encounter Him in the ordinary moments of our days.
Isn’t that what we’re truly looking for?
Friends, I pray you will experience abundant life in Jesus as you celebrate Christmas. May You live with a spirit of thankfulness and run toward your heavenly Father, leaping into His outstretched arms for His tender embrace. And, after the celebrations are over and the decorations are put away, may you lean into the Holy Spirit and seek His help to create a life rhythm where a daily touch point with your Savior is a priority.
You can hear more on staying connected with Jesus, by listening to the Reclaiming Christmas Joy Audio Bonus.
Holy Father, thank you for choosing us, calling us Your cherished friend, even before we recognized you. We are grateful for the precious gift of Your Son so we can live in life-union with You for eternity. Open our hearts and minds to allow you in so you can love and nourish us. Help us see ourselves as your precious children, worthy in your eyes. We desire to live empowered by your love so we may love others well every day.
Increase in us a desire to know you intimately. Help us lean into the Holy Spirit when we struggle to create space for conversation with you. Infuse us with your promised joy and refreshment this season as we seek to keep you at the center of our lives.
Jesus, we love you.