While at a recent family gathering, I looked around at the crowd and observed one common thing. Most, if not all seemed to be very happy to be there. Now that could have been due to all of the delicious food that they were about to devour. But I sensed that it was more than that. They would enjoy the food soon enough, but for the moment they were enjoying the company and conversations with others.
The word “enjoy” simply means, “to experience with joy; take pleasure in.” Those whom I was observing at the gathering sure seemed to be experiencing joy. Surely many of these were experiencing joy in spite of their own hardships, problems, illnesses, concerns or other difficulties.
In John 15, Jesus is speaking with His disciples when he says in verses 9 and 10,
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 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.”
Here He is saying that their goal should be to “abide in His love.” Then He tells them how they can accomplish that; by “keeping His commandments.” So why is that something they should desire? Next verse:
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
The Lord told them this because He knew that their ultimate goal was to find lasting contentment, so that they could experience true joy. How did He know this? Because He is our Creator and He created us to strive for joy. This kind of joy differs greatly from the temporary happiness we find in this world. He said this kind of joy will “remain in you,” not be here today and gone tomorrow. This lasting joy only comes when we finally realize who we really are, accept that, and submit completely to the lordship of our Savior. Then, and only then, comes that true joy that Jesus was talking about here. You can’t be happy without being joyful, but you can be joyful without being happy. This kind of joy comes from accepting the love of God that freely flows our way. We accept His love rather than the enticements of the world. They bring pleasure for only a season, while His love brings joy for an eternity.
John the beloved had found the way to eternal joy and shares it in 1 John 3:1 where he says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” When we too become so awestruck by the love of God, then we will have eternal joy.