What brings you joy? Go ahead and think about a few things and even jot them down! I wonder if we will have similar ones?
For me it is, my family, friends, a cup of coffee, lettering, reading stories to my kids, having date nights with my husband, getting together with a sweet friend and chat, warm sunny days, burying my toes in the warm sand at the beach, playing sports, playing piano, reading a good book, having a good workout completed.. I could go on and on.
This list is not a bad list and maybe yours looks similar or very different! The fact of the matter is that our lists do not complete us at the end of the day. Every thing we mentioned on our lists can disappoint or let us down. That “joy” we feel is fleeting and will create in us an eagerness to find the next thing that will try and complete us.
In John 3:29, John the Baptist is expressing that his joy has been made full.
“And so this joy of mine has been made full.”
If you know a little about John the Baptist, you will remember his joy wasn’t in his home. He lived in the wilderness. His joy wasn’t in his clothes ,he wore camel skins. His joy was not in the meals he ate for he ate honey and locusts. Those things seem so crazy to us. If our friends or a family member told us that they wanted to live like JTB we would probably call them crazy. But John had a calling on his life and made his life about that calling. You can see it prophesied in Luke 1: 67-80. (To go before Jesus and prepare the way for Him. To proclaim His majesty and baptize those who came into a saving knowledge of Jesus.)
John didn’t allow the things the world had to offer be the “fulfillment” of his joy. Instead, doing what he was called to do, did.
You and I may not have been called out of our homes to live like JTB, but we certainly do have the same command to go and make disciples of all nations.
So how then can we say what John said in John 3:29? How can we have a completed joy?
Let’s break down what “joy” means in this verse and where it comes from.
Chara or “Charisma”, cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, rejoice.
- Joy is apart of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galations 5:22.
- Joy can be “made full” (see next bolded title) through abiding in the vine of Jesus Christ. (John 15:4,10,11)
Pleroo (play-ro-o), to cram. Level up, satisfy, finish, verify, complete, end, impart richly, to fulfill, perform fully.
- Because of abiding in Christ through obedience we can then have our joy filled. When trials come, joy will be the symptom of abiding.
Jesus encourages us to ask anything in His Name and our joy will be full. John 16:24
Jesus came so that our joy may be full. (John 17:13)
Take a look again at those lists under the two bolded words “Joy” and “Made full”.
Isn’t it so amazing that our hearts can be “crammed” “filled up” with calm delight? Rejoicing? Cheerfulness? Jesus wants to impart this beautiful inheritance to us because He loves us so much. He knows that this world wants to offer us a fleeting joy, all the more why He longs for us to allow HIM to complete that joy in us.
Whatever this year brings, we can trust that Jesus has already gone before us and will make our ways straight as we abide and trust in His ways. Trials may come, but like James 1:2 promises, we can still have joy. This word “joy” is the same “joy” John the Baptist used in our beginning verse. As you can read on in the story of John’s life, he was imprisoned for preaching the gospel of Jesus and later beheaded.
He counted everything that he went through as a sacrifice for Jesus and counted it all joy. He knew the true meaning of “joy made full.”
I want that type of joy, don’t you? A joy that only can come from staying close to Jesus through His word and through prayer. A joy that only can satisfy the depths of my heart, body, soul and mind. It comes only after we surrender our heart to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us for our sins and to be the Savior of our soul. We inherit this joy simply by surrendering our heart to His and receiving by faith that He died on the cross for our sin, rose again from the dead and now is in Heaven, reigning as Lord and Savior. (John 3:16, Romans 3:23. Romans 6:23) See Anchors of Promise Day 29 Blog post for this explained more!
Unless we abide in Christ, this “completed” joy is unattainable and we will only be left in a state of wanting.
My prayer through this is that you and I will remember to ABIDE in Christ this year. To remain close to Him and make Him the priority in our lives.
John 3:30 – He must increase, but I must decrease.