Monday, June 19, 2017

Joy That Jesus Gives

Chuckle: "Some people are funny," mused the curbstone philosopher, "I know a man who had not kissed his wife for ten years. Then he shot a fellow who did."
Quote: "All our discontents about what we want appear to me to spring from the want (lack) of thankfulness for what we have." --Daniel Defoe

Jesus prayed, "And now I am coming to you (Father). I have told them (disciples) many things while I was with them so they would be filled with my my joy" (John 17:13 NLT).
The word, "joy," conjures up in our minds a state of happiness, safety, comfort, peace, contentment, well-being, etc. One could go on and on reflecting on the ramifications of the word "joy" and specifically its meaning for us as Christians. I'm often amazed at how unhappy and devoid of joy some Christians appear to be. Some even seem downright sad, defeated, and dejected. Why is this so? Of all people, the body of believers should exhibit abundant joy. Each of us would be wise to take a spiritual snapshot of ourselves and see how it compares to the picture Jesus paints of a Christian full of HIS joy.
As Jesus spoke with His disciples, he often expressed His desire that they be filled with joy as they realized they are the beloved of God who had made them His children and joint heirs of His kingdom along with Jesus Christ because of their faith in Him (Romans 8:16-17). They, who had once been declared dead in their sins were spiritually alive in Christ (Romans 6:4). With the assurance of God's miraculous salvation through Christ, how could His disciples be anything less than joyful? How can we? If you are living a life without joy, you are failing to claim your spiritual birthright. As a child of God, you should never be satisfied with a life without joy.
For the purpose of our discussion, I want to distinguish between "happiness" and "joy." They are essentially synonymous in our current English usage. However, from a spiritual standpoint, I like to think of them this way. We usually think of happiness as being the result of having everything we want. This way of thinking makes our happiness dependent upon the circumstances of our lives. However, the "joy" that Jesus wants for us is not circumstance driven. If we distinguish between happiness and joy this way, every believer should have a permanent, deep, and complete fullness of joy that cannot be taken away even during the most trying of circumstances.
"Joy is consistently the mark both individually of the believer and corporately of the church. It is a quality, and not simply an emotion, grounded upon God himself and indeed derived from him . . . . Every believer is called upon to share in the joy of Christ by a daily walk with him and a daily practice of rejoicing in the knowledge of him and his salvation" (New Bible Dictionary).
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Your joy, then, is a result of allowing the Holy Spirit to make himself known in your life. Our passage for today from John 17, is a part of our Lord's prayer. Jesus prays for His disciples and, ultimately for you and me. He did not pray for us to escape life's grief and troubles. He prayed that we would be filled with the same joy the Father had given Him. This is a supernatural joy that comes from a genuine, intimate, and continuing love relationship with the Father. It is the kind of joy that cannot be shaken by external circumstances. Do you have this kind of joy?
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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