By Pastor J.D. Link
John 15:11 says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy (GK - chara - cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, exceeding joyfulness) might remain (GK- meno - stay, abide, dwell in, continue in, be present, endure) in you, and that your joy might be full (GK -pleroo- replete, crammed full of, filled up, liberally supplied, to the brim, nothing lacking). Prior to this verse, Jesus had just stated the importance of abiding in Him and keeping His commandments. Sometimes we read verses 1-10, and think the purpose is to make life miserable and “fun-less”. However, in verse 11, Jesus gives us the real reason, which is that we might have fullness of joy. If there is ever anything God doesn’t want us to do, it is for our benefit. Remember the garden of Eden? Don’t eat that fruit! The results are bad for you!
True joy abides. It is. It is ever present, because the Spirit is ever present. As a born-again Christian, the Kingdom dwells in you, because the King dwells in you. The Kingdom is righteousness, peace, & joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The Lord is always present, because His holy Spirit dwells within us. But, are we always in His presence? Are we ever mindful that He is within us? Do we go through the day, being ever aware of His presence?
In Gal 5:22-25, we see that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and we also see that it is possible to be in the Spirit, yet not walk after the Spirit. I believe this is where most Christians live. They live (eternal life) in the Spirit, but they do not walk (daily life) after the Spirit. Though they have in their spirit all the joy, love, peace, etc. of God; they experience little or none of it, because they are carnally minded. They walk according to the flesh, and to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death, and to sow to the flesh will reap corruption.
It is not joy, if it comes only because of some outside circumstance or benefit; and leaves because of some outward circumstance, affliction, or trial. In His presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11). In Hs presence is fullness of joy! Stay in God’s presence mentally and emotionally. If you’re a Christian, then spiritually speaking, you are always in His presence - but you must stay there in your soulish realm (mind, will, emotions, heart).
You can be going through trials and temptations, and maintain joy (Jam 1:2-3). You can have great affliction and deep poverty - yet still have abundant joy (2Cor 8:2). You can be persecuted for Jesus sake, and still be joyful (1Pt 4:13, Mt 5:11-12). Stop using your circumstances as an excuse to live miserable and depressed. It is a lie from hell. Stop believing it! True joy abides! It doesn’t come and go! It is always in you! But unless you get your mind and emotions under control and take your thoughts captive, you will not benefit from this truth.
Here are some joyful Scriptures: Psa 5:11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. Psa 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. Psa 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. God delights in our prosperity. Read John 16:20-24, and see how good God is to us.
We’re supposed to be like God, right? “Be holy as I am holy”, “Follow me as I follow Christ”, etc. So, Zep 3:17 says, “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” O.K. then - start acting like God!
In closing, I encourage you to read Habakkuk. Very applicable for today. In chapter 3, He talks about all the destruction that will happen, but then he says in verse 18, “YET, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation”. He was a covenant person. He was a righteous man. Although he would see his nation reap the whirlwind for what they had sown, yet he would rejoice - have joy - in his God! I know things look bad, and, well, they are - but rejoice! In HIS presence is fullness of joy! Keep your mind on the things of God! Don’t be discouraged! The world might go to hell in a hand basket, but you keep rejoicing in God! True joy abides - period. Until next time, rejoice in the Lord!