In the book, Pollyanna, Mrs. Snow snowed almost everybody. She was always “very poorly” and complained constantly. If someone gave her lamb broth, she wanted chicken, if chicken she wanted calf’s foot jelly, if jelly she wanted lamb broth. Her ingratitude frosted the warm kindness of others. She had no joy. Nor did her cold, dour attitude glorify God.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” The Philippians were suffering persecution, yet Paul told them to rejoice. Does God actually want his children to experience joy?
The apostle John emphasized God’s desire that His followers have joy. In his gospel, He repeatedly quotes Jesus saying such for His disciples:
- “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11).
- “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22).
- “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full” (John 16:24).
- Jesus’ prayer: “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” (John 17:13).
Jesus’ will for His disciples included not just human joy, but the joy of Jesus Himself. By extrapolation, we can conclude that this is true for later believers also. In his first letter, extrapolation isn’t even needed. John wrote to late believers, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete” (1 John 1:4). In his second letter, he expresses the same desire. “I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full” (2 John 12).
The Lord Jesus desires that His own beloved ones enjoy His joy
and that in fullest measure.