These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
I remember being a child and feeling the excitement of receiving a new toy that I thought I could not live without. In the beginning I would be filled with amazement that I could even possess such a great thing. But as I grew and as the toy became used and scuffed, the joy I initially had would fade. Before I knew it, the next new incredible thing would take that place in my heart. I would look upon that shiny new object as that which surely would bring me new joy. And if I had the good fortune of getting that toy next, I could expect the cycle of joy then boredom to follow. The issue was that my joy was conditional on things that came with no guarantee. Our joy in the Lord, however, is of a different kind altogether.
The hope of Jesus Christ is that we have a portion of joy that is not merely sufficient for our contentment but that goes beyond what we need. Our Lord’s desire is that our joy be overflowing and more than abundant. How is it possible that He can make available to us a joy of such magnitude? The answer lies in the thing which anchors that joy. Our joy in the Lord is anchored in his eternal greatness, grace, love, and every other thing He guarantees. When our joy is founded in a perfectly eternal one, it cannot fade or diminish. Where our joy in the things of this world was lacking and incomplete, our joy in the Lord is not only complete but overflowing. It is joy beyond abundance. It is so much joy that we cannot keep it for ourselves but must pass it along to others. This is a joy that not only fills us but fills those around us as well.
To live an abundant life in Jesus Christ means that we have an abundance of joy. This does not mean that we never experienced trouble or grief. This only means that there is joy available to us that can overcome and surpass all of those things which serve to bring us down. This is why we can experience joy in the midst of loss. This is why we can smile and give praise in the midst of persecution and trial. The temporary troubles brought by this world are anchored in those things which will pass away, but the joy that we receive in Jesus Christ is anchored in eternity. Father, we ask that you fill us with your complete and overflowing joy, that we would experience the fullness of the joy You desire to impart to us in Christ Jesus.