In previous blogs I have covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). We are now covering the Words of Jesus in the Words of Jesus. What the Word is and what the Word brings us. The next of these is ‘His Words bring us joy’.
To feel joy is to feel the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. It is a keen pleasure or elation. A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight or of something or someone greatly valued or appreciated. It is the expression or display of glad feeling. A state of happiness or felicity.
Joy is so critical
I have never known a time when the vast majority of people have a sense of despair and hopelessness. In my role, in the past few weeks, I have visited around 100 people in their own homes. It has been disheartening to feel their sadness at what is happening in the world. Lockdown has caused confusion, fear and cynicism but almost all are lonely. To be holed up in their own homes with only the TV for comfort for months has took a terrible toll on people’s mental health.
An article in the Guardian revealed the findings in a UK poll. People with no previous history of mental illness are displaying serious problems for the first time. Adults and children are having psychotic episodes, mania and depression, with some being taken to the hospital because of the effects on their mental wellbeing.
Never has there been a time when joy is so critical. Happiness is fleeting. It is conditional on the circumstances around us. But joy has the potential to be long-lasting if our focus is right.
Jesus said, I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. John 15:11
Dwell in Him
What things had Jesus just told them? He had just given them the story of the Vine and the Vinedresser. In it He explains that He is the Vine, His Father is the Vinedresser and we are the branches. He had explained that without Him we cannot do anything with any lasting value. Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you.
To dwell in Him. What does this look like? It is to make Him our home. Our spiritual home in which we function, clean and are cleansed, relax, eat, drink and share. We make Him our home by reading His Word at any and every opportunity. By spending time talking with Him at any and every opportunity. By deferring to Him in everything.
If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. That’s a phenomenal promise.
If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it. Following this is the promise of joy.
Jesus is our anti-phychosis
We were never meant to live alone. Just as people are uplifted by social contact with others. So immeasurably more are we uplifted to the heavenly realm and above our circumstances by our contact with the Father.
Lockdown is causing people to have more psychotic events. A psychosis is a condition that affects the way the brain processes information, causing people to lose touch with reality. Mental or physical illness, substance abuse, or extreme stress or trauma can cause it. Antipsychotic drugs were developed in the 1950’s to treat psychosis when a calming effect is required. It acts on serotonin levels which is a chemical found in the brain contributing to wellbeing and happiness.
In the 1600’s Matthew Henry describes Christ as our ‘anti-psychos’ – that which is the medicine for when heightened stress causes us to feel mentally unstable. But He also is our substitute.
Henry says – Greater proof of love has no man to show than this, to lay down his life for his friend. And this is the love with which Christ has loved us, He is our anti-psychos—bail for us, body for body, life for life, though He knew our bankruptcy, and foresaw how much the assignment would cost Him.
We have a God to go to
His love to His followers appeared in the interest they had at the throne of grace – Whatever you shall ask of My Father, in My name, He will give it you. Probably this refers in the first place to the power of working miracles which the apostles were clothed with, which was to be drawn out by prayer. “Whatever gifts are necessary to the furtherance of your labours, whatever help from heaven you have occasion for at any time, ask and you shall have.” Three things are here hinted to us for our encouragement in prayer. First, That we have a God to go to who is a Father. Christ here calls Him the Father, both mine and yours. The Spirit in the Word and in the heart teaches us to cry, ‘Abba, Father’.
Secondly, That we come in a good name. Whatever errand we have need of in the throne of grace, according to God’s will, we may with a humble boldness mention Christ’s name in it and plead that we are related to Him. Thirdly, That an answer of peace is promised us. What you come for shall be given you. This great promise made maintains our profitable interaction between heaven and earth.
He will rejoice over you with joy
Jesus designed in the promises given to us that His joy remain in us and fill us. The words in the original translation may be read – That My joy in you may remain. If they bring forth much fruit, and continue in His love, He will continue to rejoice in them. Fruitful and faithful disciples are the joy of the Lord Jesus – he rests in His love to them (Zeph. 3:17 The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Saviour [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy. He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]. As there is a transport of joy in heaven in the conversion of sinners, so there is a remaining joy in the perseverance of saints.
It is the will of Christ that His disciples should constantly and continually rejoice in Him. That My joy, that is, your joy in Me, may remain (Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice!). The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ’s love is a continual feast. The Word of the Lord enduring for ever, the joys that flow from it are founded on it.
That your joy be full
That your joy might be full. Not only that you might be full of joy, but that your joy in Me and in My love may rise higher and higher, till it come to perfection, when you enter into the joy of your Lord.” Those and those only that have Christ’s joy remaining in them have their joy full. Worldly joys are empty, they never satisfy. It is only wisdom’s joy that will fill the soul (Ps. 36:8 They relish and feast on the abundance of Your house; and You cause them to drink of the stream of Your pleasures). The design of Christ in His world is to fill the joy of His people, (1 John 1:4 And we are now writing these things to you so that our joy [in seeing you included] may be full [and your joy may be complete]). That our joy might be fuller and fuller, and perfect at last.
On the pathway to joy we must evidence our love to Him by keeping His commandments: “If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in my love”, John 15:10. This will be an evidence of the fidelity and constancy of your love to Me, and then you may be sure of the continuance of My love to you.” Observe the promise “You shall abide in My love as in a dwelling place, at home in Christ’s love, as in a resting place, at ease in Christ’s love, as in a stronghold, safe in it. You shall abide in My love, you shall have grace and strength to persevere in loving Me.”
He supplies all that we need
That same hand that first shed the love of Christ in our hearts keeps us in that love. The disciples were to keep Christ’s commandments, not only by a constant conformity to them themselves, but by a faithful delivery of them to others. They were to keep them as trustees and teach all things that Christ had commanded, Matt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] end and consummation of the age. Thus they show that they abide in His love.
To induce them to keep His commandments, He urges by His own example: As I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love… You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you and not otherwise. Those only will be accounted Christ’s faithful friends that approve themselves His obedient servants, for those that will not have Him to reign over them shall be treated as his enemies. ‘Idem velle et idem nolle ea demum vera est amicitia’—Friendship involves a fellowship of aversions and attachments.—Sallust. It is universal obedience to Christ that is the only acceptable obedience, to obey Him in everything that He commands us.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
This may be a hard saying and not possible in our own strength. But by our constant abiding in Him, He supplies all that we need to be faithful followers. [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energising and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight, Phil 2:13. As we abide in Him, He is able to work in us and bring us to that perfect joy.
The Secret of Joy Such rapture is yours, What joy I see, In the heart that knows And delights in Me. The secret of joys Unending thrill, In in the longing To have My absolute will. The gratification of that longing Oh that your heart be still For there is nothing that transcends the joy The ecstasy, of loving and doing My will. To a soul who realises this wonder My joy overflows as the beauty of new birth For heaven then attains so much As it can be here on earth. The foiling of the Diving Plan is man’s tragedy. In your own strength so many things you try to do Frustrating what is My will in your life My joyous arranging for you. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, I thank You for Your promise of joy. I have tasted that You are good and Your love endures forever. May I so abide in You that my cup runs over with joy to others. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
His Words bring us joy!