Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Joy, Where It Cannot Be

     Before He returned to Heaven by way of the cross, the resurrection and the ascension, the Lord Jesus Christ intensified His teaching of the disciples (John 13-16), and then informed them of the reason for His amplified discourse.

     “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

     Only recently have I considered the joyful time the Lord Jesus and His disciples knew during their time together.  Indeed, if the Savior desired that His joy “remain” in His closest followers, it must have been present with them.  Our Lord rejoiced in His time with Peter, James, John and the other men who had left their previous lives in order to live and minister with Him.  “My joy” He mentions, and then declares His great desire that the disciples’ joy “might be full.”

     Our Heavenly Father has no interest in any relationship with us that does not include rejoicing.  Neither should we.  Of course, we reference not a silly and unbiblical joy that merely involves giddy happiness.  The Bible does not define joy in such terms.  No, the joy of Christ rather provides a deep sense of well being that manifests itself in both good times and bad, whether happy or sad emotions characterize our experience.  Indeed, the believer who walks by faith often knows joy and sorrow dwelling concurrently in his heart - “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (II Corinthians 6:10).  The Lord Jesus alone provides such a miracle of grace wherein His living presence enables a reality of rejoicing deep within even as hot tears may be streaming down our face.

     Long ago, God chastened Israel because “thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart” (Deuteronomy 28:47).  The New Testament challenges born again believers in similar fashion, calling us to rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).  This mandate could not exist if abiding joy were not possible, or if our Lord was not strongly committed to the joy of our hearts.  Let us therefore expect joy where it seems that it cannot be, based on the living presence of a Savior whose joy abides with us so that our joy might be full.

“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise Thee, O God my God.”
(Psalm 43:4)

No comments: