We recently began teaching a new Sunday school series in 1 John. In the introduction of the book, John explains to his readers that fellowship (communion) with Christ produces joy; he instructs them that their joy would also overflow back to him as his joy. Eugene Peterson’s writes it this way in The Message:
We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive in writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!
One of the characteristics of living in an abiding relationship with Christ is joy! This is not a fluctuating sense of happiness, but a deep sense of delight and confidence that God loves us and is satisfied with us! This is the work of His Spirit with in us–He affirms us and tells us He delights in us! Again, joy is the fruit of communion with God…as we walk in fellowship with Him.
So, where is our joy and why don’t we experience it regularly? For some of us, we don’t feel worthy of such praise. We know our hearts. We see our sin. We believe that we are unworthy…and that is true! But God delights in us not because of our performance, but because He has chosen as Children. He declares our worth as we belong to Him!
For others of us, our preoccupation with our own lives, our agendas, and the building of our own kingdoms prevents us from abiding in Him. Fundamentally, we believe that we will find happiness “out there…somewhere,” and we simply don’t believe that Christ is THE answer to our emptiness.
However–Joy is God’s gift to those who truly believe (and embrace) that God delights in them! They walk with God. They listen to Him. They enjoy Him, and He enjoys them. Their life overflows! Let me suggest reading Zephaniah 3:14-20; it is a great text to begin a study on God’s delight in us. May God grant us the grace to believe Him!