Jesus went to the cross for the joy set before Him. I know this joy.1 Because He lives, I live.
My greatest experience was the moment I walked into the presence of God. It happened in a split second, as if blinders were pulled from my eyes, allowing me to see Jesus. At that moment I understood who He was. I knew Him.
When I read that all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus2 I understand why I struggled in the ways of the world before I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
I floundered like a swimmer in water over her head, caught in the current of a world in which I did not belong. This current pulled me into life choices that just did not seem to fit. Now, I no longer struggle to keep my head above water, because my feet are on solid ground.
Because Jesus went to the cross to redeem me from the clutches of this world, I belong. And He is restoring what was lost when Adam and Eve were stumbled by Satan into doubting God prompting them to go their own way. As a result, they experienced death. First spiritual death, and eventually physical death.
We are spiritually dead until we receive spiritual life through faith in Christ. (Eph. 2:1; Romans 3:23)
Life is different after the second birth, the birth of our spirit.3 Once we are reborn, instead of struggling to shape ourselves into the mold society requires, we begin to discover who we were created to be. There is no greater compliment than to be told you are reflecting the attributes of Jesus.
This “joy” is more than a feeling, it is a quality of life.4
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
There is joy as we mature in Christ. This is a shared joy among all believers. Paul wrote of it in his letter to the Thessalonians telling them that their unwavering faith was his joy.5
This maturity brings like mindedness. We have the same love; we are of one accord and of one mind. We do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves and look out for the interests of others. This mindset is ours in Christ Jesus.6 What joy this brings to the body of believers.
Joy may also come out of suffering and sorrow for Christ’s sake, writes Terry Miethe in “The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words.” He sights several Scriptures to back his conclusion.
The apostle Paul suffered to help the church mature, making the word of God fully known.7 The apostle Peter told believers they are blessed when insulted for the name of Christ, because the Spirit of glory and of God rested upon them.8 The author of Hebrews wrote that sometimes Christians are publicly exposed to reproach and affliction and sometimes they are partners with those so treated.9
Of most importance is the fact this inexplicable joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit.10 We are given this Spirit at our rebirth, and He makes it possible to experience “chara,” the koine Greek term translated into English as “joy.”
C.S. Lewis describes this joy as “an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” He adds that the only thing in common this Spiritual joy has with happiness or pleasure is the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again.11
Lewis wrote that he found this joy to be a Person. And so, it is. In John chapter 15 Jesus tells us to abide in his love by keeping his commandments. He tells us this so his joy may be in us, and our joy may be full. We remain in his presence by walking in the light as he is in the light. Not going our own way but His. And this walk was made possible when He went to the cross, paying the penalty for our sins and thus redeeming us. And now restoring us for His glory.
“He is risen!” “He has risen indeed!”
©2023 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved
1-How have you discovered “joy” in the Person, Jesus Christ?
2-What special ways do you have of commemorating the victory of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
3-John chapter 3
4-The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words by Terry L. Miethe published by Bethany House Publishers Minneapolis, Minnesota.
5-1 Thess. 2:19-20
8-1 Peter 4:13-14
11-Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, as quoted in The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words.