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John 15: Live Life with Great Joy

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How to Have Joy.

John 15:11

This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, How to Have Joy.

A woman lost her house keys. She looked everywhere. Then she opened her purse, and there they were. Why did she find them there? Because that’s where she left them. Why did she not find them in the other places? Because they weren’t there.

You want joy.

That is true of all humankind. The problem is that we look for it in the wrong places.

Joyful Living for the Christian

A joyless Christian is a contradiction in terms. Joy is not inevitable—but you ought to have joy in Christ.

What Christians believe is caught as well as taught, and you have to have joy in Christ to win the lost.

Joy in Christ will take the weariness, burden, and labor out of serving Him. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b; see also Psalm 100:2).

“Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). God never intended for you to be free of pain. But He also never intended for you to be filled with misery.

The Meaning of Joyfulness

Joy Is Supernatural

Jesus said:

John 15:11
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

Whose joy? His! Not joy like His; His joy. Nobody ever had greater joy than the Lord Jesus.

Hebrews 1:8a,9b
But to the Son He says: “God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

The word gladness there has the idea of leaping. Don’t get the idea that Jesus was some pale, sanctimonious recluse.

And then Jesus says, “These things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves” (John 17:13b). This is why Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4a).

Joy in Christ Is Steadfast

Joy is supernatural, and therefore it is steadfast. Jesus said this joy will remain. (See John 15:11.) You’re not supposed to be happy all the time. Jesus, who had joy, was yet “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (See Isaiah 53:3.)

Define Joyful…

What is the difference between joy and happiness?

We’re not just talking about cheering up. Happiness may give laughter and put smiles on your face, but happiness depends on what happens. Joy depends upon the Lord.

Happiness is like a cosmetic on the outside. Joy is rooted in character. Happiness evaporates in times of suffering. But joy is often deepened in suffering, because then we depend upon the Lord.

It was as Jesus was facing the cross that He said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you” (John 15:11a). It is cruel to say to people who are hurting, “Just smile and be happy!” Sit down and weep with them. You are not expected to be happy all the time—but you are to have joy all the time.

Living with Joy in Trials

John 16:20,33b
Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy….In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The Apostle Paul did not say, “I’m joyful because I have no tribulation.” He said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 7:4b; emphasis added). Christianity is not the subtraction of problems; it is the addition of power to meet them.

What Brings You Joy?

Hebrews 10:34
You had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.

Your joy is no better than its source. Suppose you get home, and everything has been stolen. Your heirlooms, your treasurers, are all gone. Would that take away your joy? If so, those things are the source of your joy. You must have something better in order to have steadfast joy.

But if your joy is in Christ, that joy can never be taken away.

How to Find Joy

Jesus said,

John 15:11
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. (Emphasis added)

What has He spoken, then? See what He was saying earlier in this same chapter:

John 15:5
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

The secret to finding joy is abiding in Jesus.

Finding Joy by Relying on Christ

Remember that Jesus is using the figure of a grapevine and its branches. He said, “Without Me you can do nothing.” (See John 15:5.)

Have you ever thought about how absolutely dependent a branch is on the vine? It is only meant to abide in the vine and bear fruit. You are totally dependent upon Jesus. If you think you are something, then Jesus is not everything.

Joyful Living is Resting in Christ

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9). Rest in Him.

Do you know why many of us are upset? We don’t know what we’re going to do.

A branch does not worry. When it needs nourishment and moisture, the vine goes down into the ground and brings up moisture to cool it. When it’s springtime, it is the vine’s business to send its life into the branch and produce leaves and buds. At harvest, the branch only bears the fruit; the vine produces it. The branch has one thing to do: to abide in the vine.

Joy in Christ Means Relinquishment

A little branch has no side issues. It exists for one purpose. You think, “But I’ve got a family to raise. I’ve got ambition. I’ve got a job, sports, a vacation. I can’t narrow all of my interests in one.” Goodbye, joy!

Jesus knows you have a job and a family. You need to say, “This one thing I do: I abide in Jesus Christ.” If you want to have joy some other way—if you want it apart from Jesus—forget it.

Abiding in Jesus Leads to Greater Joy

When you come to reliance, rest, and relinquishment, you will know rejoicing.

You can have joy in a lot of things. God wants you to have joy in your children, your home, your friends, and your health. But He is saying, “Beyond those things, you need a source of joy that is constant, real, and cannot fade away.” The way you have that is to abide in Jesus—rely upon Him, rest in Him, relinquish to Him, and rejoice in Him.

Why? Because Jesus said, when you do this, you will bear fruit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…” (Galatians 5:22a) You do not produce this joy. It is supernatural—it is His joy.

List of Scriptures Referenced in This Article

John 15:5,9,11, 16:20,33, 17:13; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 100:2; Job 14:1; Hebrews 1:8-9; Philippians 4:4; Isaiah 53:3; 2 Corinthians 7:4; Hebrews 10:34; Galatians 5:22

More Bible Verses About Living with Joy

Psalm 89:15-16
Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-9
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works. Let your garments always be white, and let your head lack no oil. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.

Luke 10:17-20
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”