One of the reoccurring themes of scripture is that of joy, fullness of joy. As recently as Christmas we have been reminded of the angel’s words that promised, “…good news of great joy…” (Luke 2:10). It was Jesus Himself that said that He wished to fill the hearts of His followers with that same joy that filled His own heart (John 15:11).
No doubt you have heard some preacher or teacher attempt to explain the difference between joy and happiness, usually by saying that happiness is predicated on happenings. As long as things are going my way I can be happy. But joy, on the other hand, is an inner delight, an inner peace, an inner contentment that is not predicated upon the happenings of this life but finds its source in God, and God alone.
The Psalmist put it this way, “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11). Where does one find fullness of joy? In the presence of God.
How is one ushered into the presence of God where fullness of joy is found? By embracing the fullness of life that has been made available to us through the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Remember that Jesus promised us a joy that world cannot give, He promised us His joy. What was the source of the joy of which Jesus spoke? The joy of Jesus was found self-surrender and self-sacrifice, it was found in doing His Father’s will.