The title does not speak of joy in Jesus. That is, although I can rejoice in Christ, and I should, I am speaking of something much more deep and personal. I am speaking of the joy OF Jesus; I mean to say Jesus’ joy. The joy Jesus experiences is the joy of which I am speaking. If joy is a gift of God then we need His joy. Remember our Biblical definition of joy: “a delight in life that runs deeper than pain or pleasure. From a Biblical perspective it is not limited by nor tied solely to external circumstances. Joy is a gift of God, and like all of His other inner gifts it can be experienced even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.”
“…it can be experienced even in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances.” Such as?
How about Jesus’ last night here on earth? Remember these words spoken by Jesus?
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
Remember that these words are being spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper. He has just taught His Disciples that they are to abide in Jesus and He in them. And if they would do this, they would bear much fruit. Why? Because Christ loves us the same way the Heavenly Father loves Him and it is in that love we are to abide. And how do we “keep abiding” in Christ’s love? By keeping His commandments, just as He kept His Father’s commandments (please read all of John 15 today).
And why is this important in the subject of joy? Because first of all we want true joy, not some man-made facsimile that always leaves us wanting more. When Jesus prayed for His Disciples that night, He prayed:
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” (John 17:9-13)
Did you notice for whom Jesus says He prays for and whom He doesn’t? Jesus says He does not pray for the world. And by this He means those who do not know Him as Lord and Savior. Those whom the Father has given Him, born again Christians, are for whom Jesus prays. Does Jesus pray for you?
Do you remember yesterday that I said too many of us confuse happiness for joy? And for those peddlers of Christ who pray that Jesus only wants you to be happy, that is nothing less than an insult to Christ. Oswald Chambers said as much:
What was the joy that Jesus had? It is an insult to use the word happiness in connection with Jesus Christ. The joy of Jesus was the absolute self-surrender and self-sacrifice of Himself to His Father, the joy of doing that which the Father sent Him to do. “I delight to do Thy will.” Jesus prayed that our joy might go on fulfilling itself until it was the same joy as His. Have I allowed Jesus Christ to introduce His joy to me?
Good question! What’s your answer?
Before you answer, answer this: How can someone I do not know introduce me to anything about him or her? Imagine someone you do not know introducing you to his or her joy in their lives? That’s certifiable!
So why would Jesus introduce His joy to you or me if we don’t know Him? The answer is…wait for it…He wouldn’t because He can’t. He can’t introduce His joy, something personal in His life, if He does not first know you personally.
Oh come now Bro Dave, Jesus knows everyone. Granted, just like you might know everyone at your workplace or even your church, but do you have a personal relationship with them. Do you remember these words from Jesus?
“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)
I can think of no other words more terrifying than hearing those from Jesus spoken to me. Do they terrify you? They should because that is Jesus pronouncing judgment upon your soul.
Praise God I have avoided that terror! Have you? Would you like to? Then turn to Jesus and receive your initial joy of Jesus when you accept Him as your Lord and Savior. Confess and repent of your sins and acknowledge Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross and declare Him the King of your life. That’s what it means to make Him your Lord.
And guess what? When you experience the joy of receiving Christ Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you bring great joy to Him.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers