Lasting Joy

 

¡¨I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.¡¨ (John 15:11)

 

These words of Christ discussing joy seem to have been spoken at a rather inappropriate time, for He knew that in a little while He would be in the darkness of the garden of Gethsemane, and would then confront the accusations, vituperations, ridicule, lashings and abandonment of those who hated Him. Just before facing the extreme pain of Calvary, He talked about ¡§My joy¡¨. If He still harboured joy within Him during this period of great trial and tribulation, His joy must be really unique! This is what He said He would bestow to every believer.

 

(1) Joy is the hallmark of the life of a Christian ¡V

The Bible tells us that we should be joyful in all things. (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16) The experience of a Christian should bear the hallmark of joy from beginning to end ¡V joyful when repenting and turning back to the Lord (Luke 19:6; Acts 8:39); joyful when reading the word of God (Jeremiah 15:16): joyful in prayer (John 16:24); joyful during trials (James 1:2); joyful in suffering (Acts 5:41); joyful in service (2 Corinthians 1:24); joyful at the end of life¡¦s journey (Acts 20:24); and also joyful in hope (John 16:22, Romans 5:2-5).

 

(2) What is the joy of Christians? (John 15:11)

a)     It is the joy of Christ - This type of truly deep and lasting joy cannot be found anywhere except in the Lord. Some kinds of joy that cure the symptoms but not the cause may be found elsewhere, that is to say temporary joy, but the type of joy mentioned in the Bible can only be found in Christ our Lord.

b)     It is a complete joy ¡V Joy and complete joy are vastly different. Many people can find some joy, but will never be satisfied with it. Sometimes they will use inappropriate methods to attain it, with the result that the joy will turn into sorrow. But the joy of the Lord will cause us to be totally satisfied. This joy comes from within us, and is not the consequence of external circumstances generating joy within.

c)      It is a lasting joy - The word ¡§in¡¨ indicates that a Christian¡¦s joy is not an intermittent experience, but a lasting experience. It is a joy apart from circumstantial influences (John 16:22). Followers of Christ will pass through many trials and tribulations, but nothing can take away this joy. Not only is this joy not expunged by adversity, it in fact increases as a consequence of the trials and tribulations. This is truly wonderful (James 1:2).

 

(3) How can we have this type of joy?

¡§The fruit of the Spirit is¡Kjoy¡K¡¨ (Galatians 5:22). When we believe and accept Christ as our Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us (Ephesians 1:13). Once we have the Lord and live within Him, we will have this joy. At the same time, when we obey the Lord¡¦s commands and submit to Him, we will have complete joy (John 15:10, 16:22,24; 1John 1:3-4). As we take the Lord¡¦s joy as our joy, this joy will animate our lives. May we all experience this spiritual blessing in our lives, and not allow other things to hinder the complete and lasting aspects of this joy.

 

By: Esther Hung