THE SOURCE OF JOY
In John 15:11, Jesus says: “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” The joy you are to have as a Christian is the joy of Jesus. He says my joy, not joy like mine. Jesus wants to take the joy that He has and place it in you. Perhaps you’ve thought of Jesus only as a man of sorrows; you’ve never thought of Him as the Jesus of joy. Hebrews 1:9 says, “God has anointed the Lord Jesus with the oil of gladness above his fellows.” The word gladness in the original language means to leap or to jump. Do you remember when Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, came to greet Mary, and both of them had babies in their wombs? The Bible says the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy in the presence of the Son of God. The word used for leaped in the original language is the same word used for gladness in Hebrews 1:9.
Jesus was not a recluse. He performed His first miracle at a wedding, when He changed water into wine. He was so full of life that His enemies called Him a wine bibber and a glutton. He was not, but there was in Him a genuine joy, and if you don’t have that joy, you’re not like Jesus, for He is literally leaping with joy. True joy can only be found in Jesus, not pleasure, not fame and certainly not unbelief. Voltaire, an atheist, said before he died, “I wish I had never been born.”
THE STABILITY OF JOY
The joy of Jesus is not a joy that comes and goes; it is constant. Jesus says, “that this joy will remain in you.” We will all have sorrow at times, but the Bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that God gives us the oil of joy for mourning. That means in the time of mourning, in the time of brokenheartedness, God pours in the oil of His joy.
Joe Scriven came from Ireland to be a missionary to the Iroquois Indians more than 100 years ago. He left his fiancé in Ireland, and when she finally sailed across the ocean, she was killed in a tragic accident. Here was a man who loved God, who had to bury his fiancé with his own hands. A year later, he wrote a letter home to his mother with these words that we love to sing: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer.” That’s exactly what we must learn to do.
THE SUFFICIENCY OF JOY
Unless you have joy in Jesus, your joy is not full. What is the secret to finding this joy? Jesus said He spoke “these things that your joy may be full.” By “these things,” Jesus is referring to His words in John 15:1: “I am the true vine and my father is the [gardener].” Our relationship with Jesus is like that of a branch to a vine. A branch is absolutely dependent upon a vine. Do you depend upon Jesus totally and absolutely?
It is Jesus, the vine, that produces fruit; and we, the branches, bear the fruit, including the fruit of joy. Here’s how the joy of Jesus gets out of Him and into me: As I am in union and communion with Him, as my life is blended with His and His life infuses mine–just as the sap flows from the vine into the branch–the life of Jesus Christ flows into me and the joy that is in Him is now in me.
A branch may do some things–it may curl around the post, shed some leaves or bear some fruit, but it has one concern, and that is to abide in the vine. These other things happen because it has reduced its concerns to one. Have you ever brought all of the issues of life into one burning focus, and said “I have no greater ambition than just to abide in the Lord Jesus Christ?”
You belong to God just as the branch belongs to the vine. When you start seeing your life in that relationship you will find in your heart a miraculous joy because the joy of Christ which is the life of Christ is going to be flowing out of Christ and into you.