The Joy

“But now, I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, so that they may have My joy, made full in themselves.” John 17:13

Jesus prayed for His disciples to be full of His joy. Those who choose to be full of themselves will never know the fullness of the joy of Jesus in themselves.

Joy is a confidence, and a calm that fills the heart of a believer with gladness, and spills out of them and onto others, even in the midst of the chaos and confusion of the world. To the world, this gladness looks like madness. To The Father, this calmness is a sign of His children’s faithfulness. They trust in His Word, and His Presence to see them through the storms of life, come what may.

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  V.14

The disciples trusted in God’s Word, and shared the same citizenship with their Savior. They were living in the world that made less and less sense to them, because it was no longer their home.  Their homing beacon had been changed by the faith that came to them by hearing the word of God, and by embracing fellowship with His Son.

“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. “ V. 15

Jesus did not pray for His disciples to escape from the evil of the world, but to be protected from the evil one in it. Satan is a liar, and his aim in life is to steal, kill and destroy. He steals the joy of every believer who buys into his lies. He lies about the meaning, and questions the authority of the Word of God. He destroys the prayer life of believers, because he knows this is their source of their strength.

“The one concern of the Devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick

The joy of the Christian life is not a by-product of worldly entertainment, but a result of the filling of The Spirit of Christ. Entertainment has become the world’s substitute for joy.  Drinking from the world of entertainment never satisfies a raging thirst for joy.

Sensual, sarcastic, and shocking entertainment must continually push the edge of the envelope of decency because what once tickled a sense of humor inevitably wears thin. The more the same punchline is used to get a laugh out of the audience, the less power it has.  Comedians are often the most neurotic and joyless of people. They live for the approval of a fickle audience, and become prisoners of their own success, trapped in the desert of encore anxiety. When the laughter dies their lives have little meaning.

Joy on the other hand is the capacity to rise above trials, tests, and tears with a triumphal spirit. Joy does not come from tapping into a continuous stream of entertainment. The source of joy is the Spirit of Christ. Believers who yield their lives to His Presence will produce His fruit, the character of Christ.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

Jesus interceded for His disciples to be filled with His joy, not a man-made imitation marked by slap-happy giddiness.  Love is the driving force behind the joy of Jesus. Knowing the love of The Father brings confidence, and raises the level of calm in the midst of the storm. The Spirit releases joy into the heart of the believer whether they are suffocated by the mundane, or overwhelmed by the insane crises of life.

Though the storm rages on, it is possible for joy to fill a wave-tossed disciple. This kind of joy comes at the point of their total dependence upon, and absolute surrender to the one who holds the whole world in His hands. Joy filled disciples don’t abandon the ship. They surrender themselves to The Captain.

"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." - Corrie Ten Boom

Joy faces every trial, every test and every triumph with the same kind of confidence. The Spirit’s still small voice is heard within the deepest recesses of the believer’s heart saying softly, “This too will pass.”  

Joy is an overflow. It is not just an outward expression of an inward feeling. Joy is an overflow of a filling, not a feeling. The filling of The Spirit cannot be contained or hidden by those who are filled with the character of Christ.

To the faithless, gladness may appear to be madness. To the faithful, joy is calmness not madness. Praying reduces the urge to panic in the face of an enduring crisis or a cantankerous person. Joy reflects the glory of The Father, by looking into His Son’s eyes in the midst of the storm. Prayer warriors refuse to panic until Jesus does. Like the old song says, “Turn You Eyes Upon Jesus.” TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!