1 John 1:1-4: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete."
In verse 4, John says that the gospel message he writes about in verses 1-3 makes his joy complete. So, what makes our joy complete? When we find joy in the Lord, we can go beyond circumstantial happiness, which is ever fluctuating.
Fullness of joy, because it is founded in the God of the Gospels, transcends circumstances. This is not to say that it will not be assaulted by circumstances – for we are fallen human, fleshly beings living in a fallen, human, fleshly world. Circumstances will constantly assault our joy in the Lord, but, praise the Lord, they cannot remove it unless we let them. The best biblical examples of this principle can be found in Job and David. One could certainly say that during his trials Job was completely void of happiness. One need not read any farther than the third chapter of Job to discover this. This entire chapter is a lamentation of Job about his life and circumstances. And yet, in all of his sorrows, in all of his suffering, He never cursed God. For he knew the God whom He served, and He knew of His attributes. He certainly cursed His circumstances, and his circumstances certainly assaulted his joy, but he understood that God transcended all of that. This is why he could say, in the middle of his intense suffering, “To God belongs wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His” (Job 12:13). David is much the same as Job. Throughout the Psalms, you find David cursing his circumstances, and yet finding joy in knowing the Lord.
So, now let us revisit our initial question: what makes our joy complete? Do we find our joy in the words of Scripture? Do we rest our joy in the Gospel message? Is the completion of our joy found in God alone? If not, I would encourage you to examine the circumstances of your life and ask the Lord to help you find your joy in Him. Just because you are a Christian does not guarantee this fullness of joy, and, you can meet many Christians who seem to have little joy or none at all, and this is a very tragic thing. For, you see, this gospel message brings great joy to the hearer and believer and, if any person in the world is to be filled with joy, it ought to be the Christian.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.