Welcome back to The Road2Wholeness Blog! Thank you for taking the read today! We’re continuing in “The Purpose of” series. The title of today’s blog is The Purpose of JOY!
So we all know Joy! At least most of us assume that we all know Joy. At minimum, we know happiness. We know bliss… but do we know JOY? Many have tried to draw a line between Joy and happiness; calling one biblical and one worldly, but I don’t feel the need to make that distinction. Rather, I’ll just tell you about my experience with and knowledge of Joy—and of course, we’ll look at the purpose of JOY.
It’s hard to understand joy without bringing into awareness it’s opposite. Those who have not known great strife or worry may tell you that they know JOY, but I might beg to differ. I often look at the life of Jesus and the purpose of Jesus’ life to get a solid hold on Joy. For this, I also need scripture.
In John 15:13 it reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. In the following verse Jesus describes His friends as those who follow His commands. In Hebrew 12:2 it is said that “For the Joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” Therefore we see that Jesus’ Joy was to pay the sin debt for those who have been called to have life in Him. Thus His life’s purpose became a source of Joy even unto death.
In John 15:10-11, Jesus says “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your JOY may be complete.”
If you look closely, you’ll see that Jesus says commands and not commandments. Jesus is speaking here about a life of purpose in The Will of God, according to the Word of God, and in steady communication with God. He was describing a life exactly the way He had lived. That was the life that made His Joy complete, and that is the life that He wants for us as well. Verse 11, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” tells us that there is no complete joy, nor can there be a full understanding of JOY without the Lord.
So, we know that one main purpose of Joy is to be able to fulfill the purpose of God for our lives. And we can also see here that with the fullness of Joy that comes through Christ that it is in fact possible. I like to say that “The purpose of Joy is to help you to forget” or make bigger the reward than the sacrifice. I think that’s what the Apostle Paul was pointing to in Hebrew 12:2.
Giving this understanding of Joy, then we know that our Joy is often under attack. This is why most of us have heard the words “Don’t let the devil steal your joy.” Furthermore, we know that scripture says, “The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy.” But what does the enemy want to kill, steal, and destroy. Most of us think that it is us he desires to kill, steal, and destroy, but it is actually a lot easier for him to pull us away from purpose. The truth is that the enemy attacks us spiritually and in the unseen realm long before we ever see any physical signs of being attacked. His desire is simple. It’s to kill our hopes, steal our peace, and kill our trust in God, and this usually begins with our peace.
In Matthew 13:20, it reads “The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with Joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”
Imagine what it means to receive something with Joy. It’s that wonderful feeling when you’ve come to a long awaited answer—when you know what you’ve received will bring peace and harmony to your life. It’s to receive something as treasure. Now imagine having it snatched away before you can even relish it or apply it or see it proven in your life. That’s what it means to have your JOY stolen, and the first trick of the enemy is to attack your peace. Why? Because your joy is an extension of your peace. As the scripture says… “When trouble or persecution comes… they quickly fall away.” Therefore, if the enemy can keep not only our feet on rocky ground, but have us plant our eyes on that ground; we will fall away. Here is where we find that our hope has taken a hit, and if we don’t quickly make that recognition and redirect our eyes, then we eventually give up our trust in God.
This is why the Apostle Paul began Hebrew 12:2 with, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”. This is why Jesus was able to maintain the power to heal— it was because His eyes were fixed on the Father who perfected His faith. He didn’t have to stop and take time out to heal his own life, but He remained full in His walk with God and His JOY was complete.
This is the power and purpose of JOY, and when our joy is complete we can begin to pour out the overflow unto our friends— the ones who have been called to have life in us through Christ. That overflow of Joy, we call love. We can make this calculation from our own experience with people we encounter who bring us joy. We can also make this calculation from scripture. If we look once again at Matthew 15, this time from verse 9 and through to verse 12; we can see clearer the correlation between love and JOY.
It reads, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Therefore we see that to keep the Lord’s commands is to remain in His love, and when we do, we will have the fullness of Joy that is required to love each other as He has loved us. This is not simply being nice to each other, but it is to live in service to God, and fulfilling the Will of God that it may bring to the world a kind of Love that was seen through Christ.
Remember to go within that you may never go without. The God within you awaits you. Until our paths collide again, I wish you .... Peace, Love, Life, and Complete Wholeness in Christ.
NaTisha Renee Williams