In this series we’re looking at Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Did God answer that prayer? I think we can assume that He did. It was Jesus praying after all. When Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, He prays, “"Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me." (John 11:41-42)
Likewise the prayer in John 17 is for our benefit, and its answer is for our benefit as well. We know this is so because Jesus says, “these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:13)
Jesus prays this prayer that believers can be full of His joys, so why is it that we mope about all the time without any joy? Was Jesus’ request that we be full of His joy denied? I don’t think so. I think what we need to ask is what does it take to be full of the joy of Christ? The answer to that is found a couple of chapters earlier when Jesus says,
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:1-11)
So, being full of Christ’s joy requires that you abide in Christ, that He abides in you, that you bear much fruit, that His words abide in you, that you abide in His love, and all of this comes by keeping His commandments.
In the simplest terms obedience shows love for Christ and loving Christ brings joy. You’ll never meet someone more full of joy and obedience than someone who loves Jesus.