All God’s children possess some amount of joy. However, the Lord wants our joy to be full and overflowing.
All God’s children possess some amount of joy. However, the Lord wants our joy to be full and overflowing. John the Baptist always rejoiced in the Lord, but there was a day when his joy was complete, full. On that day, he saw that eyes were now turned from him and turned on Jesus. He saw all people going to Jesus (John 3:26). Then he said something very far-reaching. He said,
“He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; THEREFORE THIS JOY OF MINE IS NOW FULL. He must increase, but l must decrease” (John 3:29-30).
“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).
“And we are writing this that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4).
HOW CAN A PERSON ATTAIN UNTO FULL JOY?
We have already said that all believers have joy. The question is how this joy can be perfected and brought to the fullest. From John the Baptist, we learn a number of lessons about the secret of full joy.
First of all, he surrendered all his own interests. He was not interested in spiritual greatness. He was not interested in a following. Had these been his interests, he would have known only sorrow as the Lord Jesus increased in popularity. He was interested only in the Lord Jesus and in the greatness of the Lord. If your sole ambition is the greatness of Christ, you will know full joy.
Secondly, John was humble. He considered himself unworthy to loosen the thong of Jesus’ sandal. He was anxious to decrease, that Christ might increase. He said that he was only a voice crying that the way of the Lord be prepared. The proud of heart can know nothing of full joy. They will know temporary joy, but God and the circumstances of life will always fight against them to deflate them. So they will be unsteady in their rejoicing.
To be joyful, a person must come to the point where he is satisfied in the Lord and in the Lord only. The Psalmist said,
“He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved” (Psalm 62:2).
“For God alone my soul waits in silence” (Psalm 62:1).
How can such a one know disappointment?
The Bible says,
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Things may be going wrong. Cast all of them on Him. You will then have no burdens, and your heart will be free to rejoice and rejoice to the fullest.
If you know where your reward is, you will rejoice exceedingly. Those who know that their reward is in heaven, and seek no rewards here, will maintain perfect joy. Take, for example, some brethren who make a gift to someone and the person is not grateful. They become very upset and lose their joy. They wanted some reward here and their joy was tied to it. Since the reward was not forthcoming, they were miserable. Are you seeking a heavenly reward or an earthly reward? If your reward is heavenly, then, even in the midst of persecution, you will rejoice.
Another way to maintain complete joy is to avoid the company of miserable people. Children from miserable homes are miserable. How is your closest friend? Is he joyful or miserable? You will become like him. Also, ask and receive from the Lord. The Lord said, “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
We can sum up this whole matter of how to be joyful in this way:-
J - Jesus: Putting Jesus first in all things, at all times and in all places.
O - Others: Putting others next in all things, at all times and in all places.
Y - Yourself: Putting yourself last in all things, at all times and in all places.
The person who puts Jesus first, others next and himself last will, without doubt, radiate with the joy of the Lord. Make that your aim.