Jesus promised that His joy may be in you and me and that our joy may be full … and in the following passage Jesus reveals how such an incredible joy can fill our lives …
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch IN Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide IN Me, and I IN you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides IN the vine, so neither can you unless you abide IN Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides IN Me and I IN him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide IN Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide IN Me, and My words abide IN you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide IN My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide IN My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide IN His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My JOY may be in you, and that your JOY may be made full.“ John 15:1-11 (NASB)
I once heard Martha Kilpatrick say that the biggest word in the New Testament is the word IN … and that passage sure seems to confirm such a conclusion.
So often our human nature correlates joy with happiness and peacefulness … but God challenges that assumption through these words He inspired James to write …
Consider it all JOY, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing … Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:2-4,12
Not some joy … but ALL joy in the midst of my trials.
Such testing of my faith produces endurance.
And such an endurance makes me perfect and complete.
Perseverance through trials brings blessings.
In the midst of those blessings, I find approval.
And through that approval, I will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
All through the love, power and abiding presence of Christ Jesus!
How can God the Father expect us to consider it all joy when we encounter trials? Because He asks nothing of us that He did not likewise ask of His Son Jesus … note how Jesus responded …
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)
If in our times of trial, we will only stop and consider what Jesus endured on the cross, then we will not grow weary … we will not lose heart. My trials … our trials … will always pale in comparison to the crucifixion. Such a consideration helps to put our trials in perspective.
Help me Father to consider it all joy in the midst of my trials.
Lord help me to persevere and endure and to not grow weary and lose heart.