John 15:11 – These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
If there is one thing that is common between us all, it is the fact that we want to be happy. We want to feel content. We want to have peace of mind. Sadly, many pursue these things via avenues that lead only to dead ends. The avenues of the world (the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes – 1 John 2:15-17) make big promises and, many times, deliver for a time; but ultimately, they leave us right where we began: discontent, stressed out, and unhappy.
You see, the world offers us what I like to call “joy cookies.” Joy cookies are little morsels of “joy” that last for a moment, but leave us wanting more: a promotion at work; a new car; hooking up with a random stranger at a party; getting drunk; getting high; pulling off a clever heist; getting away with a lie. All of these give pleasure for a season, but cannot truly satisfy. As such, those who rely on joy cookies for happiness, contentment, and peace of mind, find themselves addicted, overweight, and miserable. Most importantly, such things separate us from God (Rom. 6:23; Isa. 59:1-2)!
Now, let me be clear; God does want us to enjoy life here on the earth and the fruit of our labor. Consider Ecclesiastes 5:18-19. Not everything that brings about momentary joy is necessarily evil (succeeding in one’s career, for example). What we must realize, though, is that such things, in and of themselves, can never truly fulfill us. We will always want more; something newer; something bigger; something better.
Did you catch what Jesus said about the joy He offers? It is a joy that is full. Not mostly full or nearly full, but full. The joy that is offered to us through Christ is not just a tiny morsel that we have to ration so as not to run out. It is an abundant joy. It is a joy that comes through freedom from sin (which is lawlessness – 1 John 3:4) and a loving relationship with God through Christ (Rom. 5:6-11).
Jesus stated in John 10:10 that He came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Not a life filled with an abundance of things, but an abundance of love and hope (Eph. 3:14-19; 1 Pet. 1:3). Christ offers peace that passes understanding even in the midst of life’s various difficulties (Phil. 4:6-7; John 16:33) and contentment despite one’s physical circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13).
You see, Christ wants you to be happy, but not just for a time. He wants you to be eternally happy. Such is accomplished by fulfilling the purpose for which you were created: to glorify God by reflecting His purity and righteousness (Eccl. 12:13; Isa. 43:7). Sin makes this impossible, but Christ died to remove the penalty of sin and create us anew; to give us a new beginning.
Will you put on Christ and find true joy (Gal. 3:26-27)? Will you stop wasting your time with joy cookies and start consuming that which truly satisfies (Isa. 55:1-3; Psa. 34:8)?
– Devin Roush