Just before He laid down His own life, Jesus clearly identified the pathway to joy.
By Jonathan Futch
Joy is the presence of God. It is a state of being more certain than the dawn, more measureless than the universe and more timeless than eternity. The source of joy is the presence of love, and God—the Abba of Jesus—is love. Who God is, is love and where God is, is joy. The Holy Spirit, who is the eternal bond of unconditional love between Jesus and His Abba, is the source of their joy and ours. Joy is His gift, and it is always—and only—found in His presence.
Joy is the fruit of love. Just before He laid down His own life in the ultimate sacrifice of love, Jesus clearly identified the pathway to joy. He said that in the same unconditional way His Abba loves Him, He loves us. And, to the same degree He loves us, we should love each other (as he reminded us earlier this also includes our neighbors and enemies). He gave this to us as a command or a mandate (in Latin it literally means to “join hands together in agreement and purpose”). Jesus invites us to join our hands and hearts with Him and His Abba in sharing their life and love through the Spirit with the world. He promises in this way that God’s presence will always be in us, remain with us, and proceed from us. Like the ocean engulfing a teacup, the eternal fountain of God’s love will fill our lives beyond capacity—to overflowing—and bring the joy of His presence to each and every life we touch as His love flows through us to them.
Joy is the source of peace. There are many would-be joy stealers in our world. The waters of our lives are often troubled by outside circumstances, inner fears and other people. Joy stealers don’t have the power to steal our joy, though, because the joy of the Lord is our strength. It is only when we allow ourselves to be persuaded to seek fulfillment for our lives somewhere other than in God’s love that our days turn to night and our joy to sorrow. Yet, even in the nighttime of our despair, God is there! He will dry our tears with His love, invite us again to take His hand . . . and gently lead us into the morning.
Jonathan Futch is the director of Mercy Cares Ministries, a network of churches and ministries around the world specializing persecuted peoples."