And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

1 John 1: 4

 

Let me make a bold statement that is produced from my understanding of life. There is one place in this world where joy resides. This is in the presence of God that comes through and from a relationship with Jesus Christ. It almost seems as if I should just stop right here. That is the beginning, the content, and the conclusion of the story of a life that is truly lived. Let me go on to say that this joy that John is discussing is something quite special itself. It is much grater and more comprehensive than happiness or laughter or other forms and expressions of emotion.

 

Joy is resident deep in the heart, and it also speaks to the mind with words that bring peace and comfort. Joy is the result of knowing that this life and the world where it is carried out have true meaning and purpose. It is a gift that God gives to His people that is granted to us ass a result of Christ’s willing sacrifice of Himself for our eternal sakes. Joy is made real as we grow in our relationships with Christ. We gain depth and breadth of understanding of joy through God’s word of life as we study its text, pray through it and meditate upon it, and live out its truths in the community of faith that is Christ’s body.

 

This joy that Christ gives to His people is more in the nature of a characteristic than it is an emotion. It is present on the happiest of days, and it is with us during our darkest moments. Joy comes from the deeply planted knowledge that we are never alone in this life. It is an expression of the unending presence of the Holy Spirit within us, and it comes from the certainty that Christ is the answer to every situation, circumstance, and condition in this life. Joy is complex, and it is very simple. It is the summation of the experience of Christ, and it is the faith caused acceptance of the absolute truth of the Living Word. This joy is very personal; yet, it is understood most fully when its full range of expression is shared in Christ’s community of faith.