Jesus said, “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.” This complete word means whole.
So why can we feel joy slipping away or not at all? And why can we feel like we are falling apart or somehow broken instead of feeling whole?
In the Christian faith, joy is a fruit of the Spirit. We already possess joy. But the world can easily steal our joy if we listen to the outside voices of marketing and social media telling us what to be, do, and have. (Watch the videos on how the outside and inside voices steal joy.)
The voice we need to listen to is that of Jesus who gives us joy right now and in the future.
Joy in the Present through the Holy Spirit’s Presence
Jesus tells us in John 14:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (Comforter, Helper, Counsellor, Companion, Friend), to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
There are many translations listed between the parentheses. I like Friend because Jesus tells his disciples that he no longer calls them servants but friends.
Since Jesus is no longer physically with us, he promises that he makes his home in our hearts.
We are not orphaned, abandoned, alone. We have a Friend with us and within us. A Friend who will help us to know what is true and give us guidance. That’s a lot to be joy-full about!
Having Joy by Having Peace
It’s kind of hard to have joy if you are not at peace. Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Jesus says that the world will not give you what he gives you.
We are in the world but not of the world. But the pressures of the world to stress and strive are pervasive. Social media is a vehicle that welcomes comparison and can cause you to feel less than. Broadcast media starts with breaking news, and some sort of crisis or disaster inciting fear and anxiety.
To stay in your joy, you need to tune out the voices of the world and tune into the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Joy in the Future
After the Last Supper, Jesus tells the disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you.” (Read more in John 14:1-3)
Robert’s father, Stuart (Stu) passed away at the incredible age of 100! Stu and his wife Mary attended our church every Sunday until their health began to fail.
Many times the choir would sing from the balcony to open the service. That was Stu and Mary’s favorite spot.
Stu nudged me one day and said, as he opened his hymnal wide, “We play a game to see who opens the closest to the hymn number listed in the bulletin.” Mary added, “Whoever gets the closest wins.”
A memorial service was held at the church. The service began with the hymn 625 – How Great Thou Art.
As we stood to sing the hymn, Robert nudges me and says, “Look!” He had turned directly to hymn 625.
Stuart was with us. “I go to prepare a place for you.”
Joy Present and Future
When we know we have a future place, that we are not alone but are loved and cared for, that we have peace in the midst of troubles, we can feel complete wholeness and joy.
When you focus on what Jesus provides instead of what the world provides, you will find your joy in the present moment and be assured of the joy that is to come.