A Recipe for Joy
"These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11
Joy is the birthright of the child of God. Every child of God ought to have a conscious, conspicuous, continuous, and contagious joy. If you are not living a life of joy, you are living beneath your privileges as a Christian.
The Source of Joy
What is the source of your joy? John 15:11 says the joy that you are to have as a Christian is the joy of Jesus. He says "My joy." Jesus literally wants to take the joy that He has and place it in you. We think of Jesus as a Man of Sorrows, but there was a genuine joy in Jesus; and if you do not have that joy, you are not like Him. Jesus is the source of joy.
The Stability of Joy
Jesus not only wants you to find His joy; He wants you to keep it. This is not a joy that comes and goes. Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." 1 Thessalonians 5:16 is even clearer: "Rejoice evermore." It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between joy and smiling. Even when the tears are coursing down your cheeks, there can still be joy in your heart. If you get your joy from amusement; when you can no longer be amused, your joy is gone. But Jesus never changes. He is always there, and that is why your joy can remain:
- Steadfast in Sorrow — Being a joyful Christian does not mean you will not have sorrow. In fact, John 16:20 states, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice...." But you can have joy in spite of sorrow.
- Triumphant in Tribulation — Not only are you going to have sorrow, you are going to have tribulation. In John 16:33 we read, "...In the world, ye shall have tribulation...." But Paul sang praises to God at midnight in the Philippian jail. The same joy is available to you.
- Abundant in Affliction — Afflictions may come and go, but Jesus is still there. Jesus knows your afflictions and offers joy in their midst. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 says, "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost"
The Sufficiency of Joy
Not only is His joy here to stay, but the joy of the Lord is enough. Other things can give you joy in an area of your life; but unless you have joy in Jesus, your joy is not full. The fullness of joy is only in Christ. Psalm 16:11 says, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
The Secret of Joy
Even though this joy is available to us, not every Christian has joy. You can be a Christian and still be miserable. As a matter of fact, the most miserable man on Earth is not an unsaved man but is a saved man out of fellowship with God. David, after he had committed sin, prayed in Psalm 51:12a, "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation." He hadn't lost his salvation, but he had lost the joy of it. We also read where Peter wept bitterly even though he was saved (Matthew 26:75).
Many Christians are joyless. They need to know the secret of joy found in John 15:5: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing." There are three significant things about the life of a branch:
- A branch is absolutely dependent upon a vine. The vine sustains the branch and provides everything needed. The branch never has to worry about its provisions.
- The branch is not called on to do anything for God, just abide in the vine. What we do on our own has no eternal value.
- The branch surrenders to the vine in order to be useful. It is the vine that produces the grapes — the fruit of the Spirit — which includes joy. In order for there to be this dependence and restfulness, there must be total surrender.
Have you brought all of the issues of your life into one burning focus and said, "I have no greater ambition, desire, or responsibility than just to abide in the Lord Jesus Christ?" Dear friend, that is the recipe for joy in your life.