THE JOY OF CHRIST
I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
If anything ought to characterize the life of a Christian, it’s joy. Jesus spoke many times to His disciples about His joy being complete and full in them. His disciples were filled with joy as they realized who they were: children of God and joint heirs with Christ (see Rom. 8:16-17). They had been dead in their sins but were now made alive in Christ (see Rom. 6:4). They had once been helpless victims of death, but now death had no hold over them (see 1 Cor. 15:55-57). With such a marvelous salvation experience with Christ, how could the disciples be anything less than joyful?
It’s not surprising that of all those who followed Jesus, Mary was the one to anoint His feet. The disciples would have opportunities to show the same love, but pride would prevent them (see John 13:1-17).
Martha too was prone toward acts of service, but she had developed a different kind of relationship with Jesus than Mary had. While Martha had labored on Jesus’ behalf in the kitchen, Mary had joyfully sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him teach (see Luke 10:38-42). Because Mary had come to know and love Jesus in this way, she was ready to humble herself and offer this poignant expression of love to Him. Such depth and sincerity of love come only by spending time in close fellowship with Jesus.
The way we express our love for Jesus depends on the kind of relationship we’ve developed with Him. Our love for Him won’t grow unless we spend time with Him, listen to His voice, and experience His love for us. If we find that our love for Jesus has waned or that we struggle to serve Him, it’s a clear sign that we must take time to sit at His feet. We may have been involved in Christian activity on His behalf and yet neglected our relationship with Him. After we’ve spent time in intimate fellowship with our Lord, heard His voice, and received His love, we’ll be prepared to serve Him, even laying down our life for Him if that’s what He asks.
Don’t deny yourself your birthright as a child of God. Don’t be satisfied with a joyless life. There ought to be in every Christian a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ that no circumstance of life can dispel. This kind of joy comes as you allow the Holy Spirit to express Himself in your life. One fruit of the Spirit is joy (see Gal. 5:22). This joy is unlike any happiness produced by the world. It fills you and permeates everything you do.
Jesus didn’t pray that you’d merely be happy or even that you’d escape grief. He prayed that you’d have the same joy the Father had given Him: a divine joy that comes from a deep, unwavering relationship with the Father.
This joy is grounded so firmly in a relationship with God that no change in circumstances could ever shake it. This is the kind of joy that Christ is praying will be in you.
Before reading today’s devotion, what word would you have used to describe the Christian life? Why?
Describe a time when you were filled with the joy of Christ.
How will you intentionally spend time developing your relationship with God?
What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?
Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.
What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]