The Joy of Obedience and Submission

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The Joy of Obedience
“If ye keep My commandments ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:10-1210If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:10‑12)).
Notice that this verse speaks about two joys — His joy and our joy. The Lord Jesus is saying to the disciples and in spirit now to us: “On earth, I had My joy, and the joy that I have had in My life is the joy that I want you to experience and have in your life.” It is a full joy. There can be no greater joy than the joy He experienced and wants us to have as well.
The Lord Jesus went through life with a fullness of joy. Yes, He was the man of sorrows and He was acquainted with grief. He had constant sorrow in His life, having to deal with sin, with the spoiled creation, and with Satan. All weighed on His spirit daily, yet at the same time, He experienced a joy that no man could take from Him. It was a joy that now He presents to the disciples — “I want My daily joy to be your daily joy.”
That joy has an “if” connected with it, for He says, “If ye keep My commandments.” In Psalm 40, the Lord Jesus, prophetically speaking, says, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God.” The joy of the Lord Jesus, every moment of every day of His life — motivated by love — was to do the will of His Father. It was the joy of obedience.
Much of the bitterness and sorrow that we experience in daily life is because we do not wholeheartedly delight to do the will of our Father. In place of doing His will, we seek to find our joy in doing our own will. We set our mind and hearts to do what is not the will of our Father. Our happiness gets tied to it, and as a consequence, when it doesn’t come to pass as we hoped, it produces unhappiness or frustration.
The Lord Jesus never had to experience that kind of sorrow in the flesh. He found His daily delight in the joy of obedience, an obedience motivated by love. The joy was reciprocal, too. When the Lord Jesus went through His life here, it was a perfect delight to the heart of the Father. Every day as the Father looked down upon the Son, walking obediently in the midst of all the misery and evil, He found delight in His obedient life. He is so pleased that He opens heaven just so He can say, “This is My Son, in whom I have found My delight.”
In the Son’s prayer to the Father in John 17 He says, “Thou  ...  hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me,” and He desires that “they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” His joy was in doing the Father’s will, and He desires that they go through each day enjoying the love of the Father and the Father delighting in their obedience to His will. Our new life, the life of Christ, delights in the nature of God and delights to do His will. It’s the joy that the Spirit of God produces in us, as we have in Galatians 5: “The fruit of the Spirit is  ...  joy.”
In speaking about prayer, we noted that we ask and He hears us. Do you think the Lord Jesus, walking in the spirit of loving obedience, ever asked for anything that the Father had to say, “Sorry, Son. You don’t quite understand Me or My purposes, and so I have to say no. I need to explain to You where Your thoughts and Mine are different.” No, He never did. God, by the Spirit, desires and delights to work in us so that what we want of the Father is always consistent with His will. When His will is our will and His desires are our desires, then, and only then, will we have fullness of joy.
The Joy of Submission
In the early chapters of Matthew we see the Lord Jesus going up the mountain and preaching what we call the sermon on the mount, giving the beatitudes and so on. Then we see Him going out and doing good, healing and giving life to those who have died. When we get to the tenth and the eleventh chapters, what’s the result of all His preaching and doing good? We’d say, “I hope there’s been a wonderful result of all that work of good and blessing for man.” But, in reality, He is totally rejected by His own people, the Jews. All that He labored for and all the love He showed produced no outward result in the souls of men. Instead they said, “Let’s get rid of this man.”
How did He react to the rejection of Himself and His love? Was He disheartened? Discouraged and cast down? No. He rejoiced in spirit and said, “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth  ...  for so it seemed go in Thy sight” (Matt. 11:25-2625At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:25‑26)). Where could He get joy like that? All His teaching and preaching and doing good seemed to have produced nothing but hatred and animosity! Yet He could rejoice and say, “I thank Thee, O Father.” It was a joy of submission to the Father’s will. From that point on, the Father sent Him out to do good to all men, no longer restricting Him to just the Jew. He said to all mankind, “Come unto Me  ...  and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me  ...  and ye shall find rest.”
The first rest in that invitation might be called the gospel rest. He says, “Come unto Me  ...  and I will give you rest.” The second rest in that invitation is connected with joy. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me  ...  and ye shall find rest.” It reminds our hearts that the true path of rest and joy is the path that the Lord Jesus took. He accepted everything, every circumstance and every result, in perfect submission from the hand of the Father. It was the path of lowly submission. He came down to earth, and on earth He went down lower still. Will we go down in spirit to the place where He is in Matthew 11 and learn of Him and find rest, joy and peace? “Come down to Me, where I am, and you are going to find rest for your soul.”
D. F. Rule