What Is The Nature & Source Of The Joy & Peace Of Christ?
“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.
John 17:13 (NLT)
What Is The Joy Of Christ?
Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
Hebrews 12:2 (VOICE)
Most people wish to have joy. In the opinion of the world, joy is gained by the acquiring of material possessions or by eating, drinking, and making merry in a festive atmosphere. Some persons seek power, or success and the accomplishment of their endeavors. Others strive continually to gratify the lusts of their flesh. Joy is the goal.
The ways of the world do not bring lasting peace and joy to our heart. Those who possess many material possessions do not demonstrate that they are the happiest people on earth. Eating, drinking, and making merry in a festive atmosphere is pleasurable for the moment, but then the following morning has to be faced and endured.
World rulers and leaders are not noted for revealing peace and joy in their personalities. Those who succeed in business often are plagued with worries, competition, and lawsuits. Business reverses can result in suicide. Fornication, alcohol, drugs, and other lusts of the flesh lead their victims into remorse, betrayal of trusts, and various physical and mental illnesses.
For those who choose the temporary pleasures of the world there is uncertainty, confusion, and dread concerning their reception in the spiritual realm when they die. The sword hangs over the head of each sinner while he fills his mind and his time with the frantic pursuit of “fun.”
It is certain that it is appointed to each human being to die, and then he or she will be judged. How wretched is the state of those who seek the pleasures of the world!
The true saint turns away from the temporary pleasures of this life. He chooses to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and to share in Christ’s suffering. He embraces the way of the cross, of self-denial, of discipleship.
The sincere Christian is not too concerned with acquiring material possessions beyond the immediate needs of his family and himself. Having food and clothing he is content. He does not participate in revelry, because he has learned that any time spent in abandoned gaiety provides a direct opportunity for Satan to strike him. The experienced saint much prefers to watch continually in prayer.
The genuine disciple of Jesus is not seeking power nor is he preoccupied with success or material accomplishment. He works diligently at whatever is placed before him. He is not a religious “drifter” not a “floater” expecting hard-working people to feed him.
In some instances the Christian may be successful and respected in the eyes of worldly people. This was the case with Daniel, for example, who was a true man of God.
The saint is first of all a person of prayer and devotion to the Lord Jesus. He follows the Lord each day. Jesus comes first. If Christ should direct him to leave his secular employment there is no hesitation. He followed the Lord diligently in material success and now he follows the Lord diligently apart from material success. He follows the Lord!
Christ while living on the earth was a man of the greatest joy and peace. He possessed enough joy and peace for Himself and for all His followers as well.
In view of the harassment directed toward Him, how could this be?
Jesus owned few material possessions. He was not a carouser. Although Christ ate and drank with people He certainly was not a glutton or drunkard. His nights were spent alone in the mountains in fellowship with His Father in Heaven.
The Roman Empire, a typical worldly society, was oriented toward power, success, and accomplishment. But Christ lived in the Spirit of God. He refused the opportunity to become wealthy and powerful in this life. Fornication, lust, lying, drunkenness, covetousness, had no place in His Personality.
What is the nature and source of the joy and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Christ alone possesses, and is able to give to others, the joy and peace that the entire world is seeking.
Only those who have forsaken all and are following Jesus can experience this joy. Lukewarm Christians can know moments of peace and joy. But the deep, pervading, eternal joy and peace of which Christ speaks is experienced only by the single-minded, intensely consecrated disciples of the Lord.
One of the penalties suffered by the compromising, worldly Christian is that the joy of the Lord is denied to him or her. The worldly follower of Christ is weak in the Lord because he is not given the joy, the strength, of the Lord.
Those who have forsaken material possessions experience the joy of having the Lord supply their needs miraculously. Those who give themselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord comes to know the close fellowship of the Father and the Son—and there is no other joy like that.
Those who have been humbled under the mighty hand of God possess the authority and power given only to the overcomer. The faithful whom the Lord makes barren receive the joy of beholding fruitfulness and dominion on a great scale.
Those who deny the lusts of their flesh experience spiritual delights that have no sorrow added to them. Blessing is heaped upon blessing, and increased fruitfulness and dominion are the result.
The Lord’s conquering saints are looking forward to joy and glory, after they die, beyond the mind of man to conceive. There is no uncertainty, confusion, or dread surrounding his or her physical death.
Death is gain for the saint. He will be received by Christ with the open arms of love and will hear the Son and the Father exclaiming over a job well done in this life. Only God Himself understands the pleasures awaiting those who forsake all and serve God in the present world.
Christ overcame all things and is seated on the Father’s throne. He was able to endure the cross because of the joy set before Him. If we choose to live victoriously through Christ, one day soon we will be seated with Him on His throne. We too can endure the cross because of the joy set before us.
The dedicated Disciples of Christ experience more joy than any other group of people in the world. The joy of Christ is theirs. It is with them at all times, especially when they are in trouble. The joy of Christ dwells in the saint when he is imprisoned for Jesus’ sake. The joy of Christ abounds in the Christian martyr as he or she is led before the executioner.
There may be periods of time when the saints are brought very low and suffer prolonged seasons of grief or dread. But the Lord brings them out of all these as soon as they have been set free from the particular bondages with which the Lord is dealing.
Only those who take up there cross and follow Jesus are given the fullness of joy. By losing their life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s they finally gain the greatest treasures available in the world (fellowship with God, the love and respect of their families, an untroubled conscience, and so forth) and eternal life in the world to come. The righteous indeed is blessed beyond all other people. But the way of the transgressor is hard.