The Price of Experience
By Toni Shiloh
“I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:1
You ever see a kid look over his shoulder before choosing that fork in the road that his parent specifically told him not to take? The wide-eyed look of wonder of reaching for that cookie, or whatever’s been forbidden, thinking they wouldn’t get caught?
But then the look of triumph quickly turns to pain as they realize a fact: their parent was right. Those cookies caused a stomachache. That hot stove burned their hand. The restrictions provided safety for something we only visible in hindsight.
Sometimes rules feel constrictive. As if we can’t fully experience happiness unless we cross the line and get a little breather. And this can be over something so innocuous. A family vacation you justified going on even though you had to max out a credit card. That friendship you maintained despite the boundaries that keep getting broken.
We tell ourselves that crossing these lines don’t have big consequences. They’re like white lies, not hurting anyone. That we aren’t really disobeying. But when that appliance unexpectedly breaks or a bill comes that we forgot about, suddenly our vacations and new purchases show themselves as the problem they really are—disobedience.
Jesus tells us in John 15:10, “If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.” And the reason that Jesus tells us this? “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
God’s rules aren’t meant to harm us or constrict us from living a full life. They’re meant to ensure our joy. And not a regular old type of joy either. Not one you feel when you find money in your wallet or realize that it’s Saturday and not a day of work. Now, it’s the Lord’s joy that fills us and never leaves us.
Keeping His commands to love Him and love others shapes us in maturity. It rids us of selfishness and elevates those around us. Two rules that will ensure we have joy in our lives created from love. We help others experience joy when we seek their best over our own interest, and this bring our Father joy.
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at http://tonishiloh.com.
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