By Chaplain Thomas Meade
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
– John 15:11
A beautiful feeling connected to happiness is joy – but these have their differences. In the previous verses Christ is encouraging His disciples to abide in His love, which is in Him, the Vine: “I am the true vine” John 15:1a. We do not only have joy for ourselves but also for others, and in fact we can keep this joy even in sad times of unhappiness.
Furthermore, He goes on in the following verses how this joy can grow by having others who care and truly love you. Those who can be depended upon, like our Pruitt partners that have the same mission together in our ministry of love, a team to be there with hearts of passion in what we do, being in a family-structured atmosphere. Jesus is not only the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, our Redeemer, but He is also our friend! As the hymns proclaim, “what a friend we have in Jesus” while we are “leaning on the everlasting arms.”
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another (John 15:12-17).
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
Notice that the Apostle Paul uses the word “always,” meaning that it is not impossible to do, to rejoice! In fact, this is so important that he repeats “rejoice.” To do so keeps the euphoria of joy alive through rejoicing “in” the Lord, by faith being “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37b).
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (1 Peter 1:8).
Here we can see how the two help complete us – by rejoicing with joy, by our believing in Christ. Even though we presently do not physically see Him, we have trust in His help in a time of troubled need. How indescribable it is, how we are filled with glory. Early Christians had troubled times in many ways and were persecuted; like in our day and time, all over the world today. Yet we can rejoice in joy because we know it is God that is in control.
Rick Warren adds his own definition: “Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation” (Aug 3, 2017).