John 17:13 – “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”
Jesus is about joy!
Nearing His death, Jesus paused to pray of Christians, “That they may have my joy”.
Simply put, the life of a Christian, like the life of Jesus, is not always marked by great comfort, wealth, health, ease, or simplicity. Nevertheless, it is filled with the presence of God and the purpose of God so that all we have, do, and endure can and will be used to glorify God and benefit others as it was with Jesus as he went to the cross. Consider this powerful passage from Philippians:
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross! (2:1-8)
Those words were likely part of a hymn sung by the early church. So this meditation on the joy of Jesus was a worship song!
The Christian life is supposed to be one of joy. Not the kind of joy that most people seek, but the overflow of purposeful and passionate life lived in relationship with God by the power of the Holy Spirit in the example of Jesus to the glory of the Father. Any life lived by any other power following any other example for the glory of anyone or anything else cannot and will not result in joy. This explains why the most “successful” people are also often the most miserable.
Do not waste a single second of your life. Not even the bad parts, the dark parts. Do not put your life on autopilot when the going gets rough. Jesus is praying here in John 17 about a good life, not an easy life. There is a difference!
I will tell you who did not have hope, who lost hope—Judas. Jesus and Judas are the two examples of how to live one’s life. Jesus hung from a tree for the glory of God and the joy of the world, a precursor to his reigning in glory forever. Judas hung from a tree in his own noose, having gained some money and having lost his soul.
There is joy in knowing that your sins are forgiven, God’s love will never leave you, your eternal seat in heaven is guaranteed, and that this world is as close to hell as you will ever be and that one day soon you won’t be here anymore.
What is most joyful in your life right now that you can thank God for?