If you are a Christian walking in the Spirit, you are to have conspicuous, conscious, continual, contagious joy—the joy of the Lord.
The Joy of the Lord Is a Necessity
Most of the people you meet are not concerned about going to Heaven or Hell—they want to know how to hack it on Monday. If you “rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (see 1 Peter 1:8), you will make a difference. (Read Psalm 51:12-13.)
For an Abundant Life
The Christian life is simple. But you will not have effectiveness or longevity in your work without joy. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).
For the Trials of Life
You may say, “If you knew the problems I have, you wouldn’t have the nerve to tell me I ought to have joy.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). Jesus said this as He was about to face the cross. Jesus was “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (see Isaiah 53:3). You can have joy in the midst of your difficulties and grief. (See Philippians 4:4.)
The Joy of the Lord Is Lasting
Jesus said, “that My joy may remain in you” (see John 15:11).
What Is the Difference Between Joy and Happiness?
Happiness depends upon what happens. Happiness is like a thermometer: it registers conditions.
Joy comes from the Lord. The only way you can “rejoice always” is to rejoice in the Lord (see Philippians 4:4), because He never changes. Joy is like a thermostat: it controls conditions. Jesus had sorrow, to the point of sweating blood in Gethsemane, but through it all He spoke of His joy.
Joy deals with inward character. When happiness sometimes goes away, joy is intensified because that is all you have, and you have to depend upon Jesus.
What Is Joy?
What does lasting joy look like?
In a dismal prison, hungry, cold, suffering in the sewage on the floor, the Apostle Paul said, “I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4b).
Suppose you go home and find your house burned to the ground. Your car wrecks, and you’ve let your insurance lapse. Tomorrow morning, you find you’ve made a bad investment and lost everything. Can you have joy? (See Hebrews 10:34.)
If your goods are taken away, and you lose your joy, you were getting your joy in the wrong place.
Do you have tribulation? That means you need joy. (See John 16:20.)
The Joy of the Lord Is Abundant
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11; emphasis added). The recipe for fullness of joy is to go back and see what Jesus spoke.
What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).
Your one overarching goal in life is to be totally, completely surrendered to Jesus Christ. When you surrender, you must depend. He is taking care of you, and you can rest. A branch is not concerned about needing moisture, putting out buds, or producing fruit—the vine takes care of these things.
“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). Do you want Jesus to be real to you? Keep His commandments. (See John 14:21.)