How can Christians possess the full measure of joy that Jesus promises? Today, R.C. Sproul demonstrates that consistent joy and peace come from a consistent walk with Christ.
“These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full.” These things I have spoken to you. Here we have the use of the subjunctive in the Greek, which states purpose. To read it another way, it would go like this: “I have told you these things in order that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full.” Two reasons Jesus has told this story. Two reasons that He designates here.
The first one is that the joy that He provides for His people may remain. All this discussion about abiding, staying, and remaining. Abide in Me, I abide in you. Why? So that your joy may abide, so that there can be a consistency, that there can be a permanency. Not a roller-coaster ride of mood shifts, alternating states of joy and misery, which so often characterizes the life of the Christian. Jesus is saying, “If you want consistency, then consistently abide in Me, and My joy will abide in you.”
Again, do you notice? My joy. Remember earlier in the fourteenth chapter, Jesus talked about peace. “Peace I leave with you. Peace I give unto you. Not as the world give us, give I unto you. My peace, I give to you.” So, where does the Christian’s peace come from? It comes from Him. We have this opportunity to participate in His peace, and in like manner, He’s saying now, “I’m telling you these things that My joy may abide with you.”
Now, He distinguishes between His joy and our joy. And that your joy may be full. Isn’t that what we want? We don’t want a partial cup of the fruit of the Spirit. We don’t want just a little bit of joy. We want all of the joy that the Father has stored up for His people. And the fullness of joy that we have comes from Christ. It is first His joy that He gives to us. And as we are plugged into Him, this joy that comes from Him grows, increases, remains constant, and becomes full.
No one who is listening to me right now has ever yet in his or her life fully experienced the highest level of joy that is available to the people of God. How constant is your joy? Do you feel like it’s a roller-coaster ride? I often do. And one of the things that disturbs me is how I can be inconsistent. And I know that we all struggle with that sort of thing. But Jesus gives a simple explanation for that. When we are inconsistent in our walk with Him, in our quest for intimacy with Him, then the fruit that we bear will likewise be inconsistent. But if we want a constancy and a fullness of the measure of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, then we know what to do. Since He is the source of peace, of joy, of love, of faith, indeed, of all of the fruit of the Spirit, then the closer we stay to the vine, the stronger and more productive the fruit of the vine is in our lives.