I’ve been exploring J O Y in the Bible as part of my creation of a GodVenture Joy Box, and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve discovered.
There’s quite a bit of talk about joy being complete, first in Deuteronomy 16:15, where the people are commanded to celebrate the seven Feast of Tabernacles / Booth / Shelters, which involved making a shelter outside their home and having meals and even sleeping in it. The people are told:
For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
Here joy being complete is linked with taking part in the festival and being blessed by God.
In the New Testament when John the Baptist’s disciples are arguing about ceremonial washing and John says:
You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. John 3:28-29
John’s ‘complete joy’ is about knowing that the Messiah has come, and is likened to the joy of a bridegroom seeing his bride. This is interesting, as it’s complete joy but an incomplete situation, as, obviously, the joy of a bridegroom is in his marriage, not just the moment it begins, however, like the feast of tabernacles, this is a perhaps a significant moment of complete joy.
Jesus talks about complete joy when he 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 that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11
Now if Jesus’ joy is in me, there’s a good ticket to complete joy! And what does this joy depend on? Obeying the Father and so remaining in the Father’s love.
At the beginning of 1 John, it says:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our* joy complete.
*Some manuscripts have ‘your joy’ complete. Either way, this joy is about sharing the good news about Jesus with others.
FILLED WITH JOY
In Acts 2, when Peter stands in front of the crowd to explain their behaviour after the Holy Spirit comes, he quotes Psalm 16:11 which says:
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
God fills us with joy when we are with Him. And since His presences is with us everywhere all the time, this could be our reality every minute!
Paul says this wonderful blessing in Romans 15:13:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I love this this is all joy, not just ‘joy’! What a lot of joy there is to be had!
In yet another epistle, it says:
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy 1 Peter 1:8
Not just filled with joy, but with filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy! WOW!