Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Searching For JOY

Discovering Four Sources
of JOY in John 15

             I often wonder how much fruit I’m bearing, especially JOY. I’m told I’m patient. Others say I exhibit peace. But, Joy? Over the last several years I’ve wondered why I’m lacking in the joy department.

Now, I know these qualities aren’t something I can manufacture on my own. If I could get JOY-seeds, I would plant them so I could share the fruit with others. But, since there isn’t any such thing as Burpee Joy-seeds, what can I do? Scripture says the Holy Spirit produces fruit in me.

When I was asked to lead a Bible study on JOY, I laughed at God’s sense of humor. What better way to answer the question of where JOY comes from? For months I’ve wondered how I can FEEL joyful? I am asking for His Truth to be made clear. And, now it seems every place I look, I am discovering His answers.

In John 15:11 Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete.” I pondered the question; What is Jesus referring to? 

In John 15, I See Four Sources of Joy.

1.     Be Attached to the Vine—Jesus says He is the vine, I am a branch, and the Father is the Gardener. A branch receives life from the vine so I receive my spiritual life from Jesus Christ. Jesus said He will never leave me. As a child of God, I have JOY because I belong to Jesus and I have His life giving Spirit.

2.     Abide in Christ—I must stay nearby, spending time in His presence. I receive my spirit’s nourishment from Him. On my own, I can’t accomplish anything but He tells me if I remain in Him I will bear much fruit. The closer I am to Him, the more joyful I am.

3.     Rely on Jesus - He gives me the strength and power to live in the way I need to. Scripture tells me to “walk in a manner worthy of my calling.” I rely on Him for everything because I CAN’T do it on my own. JOY stirs when His way is made clear and He equips me with what I need to follow Him. And, He is the one that cares for the things I’m concerned about.

4.     Recognize His love - John 3:16 says, “God loved the world so much He gave Jesus…so anyone who believes will have eternal life”.  The passage tells me that Jesus loves me in the same way that His Father loves Him. Jesus loves me so much that even when I’m at my worst, He died for me so I can be forgiven. Feeling loved and chosen awakens JOY within me.

Jesus Has Given Me Everything

Jesus gives me His presence, spiritual food, power, love, forgiveness and eternal life.


I’m filled with JOY when I know I belong to Him. Jesus bought my life—the price was His life. That kind of love is something I have trouble comprehending because I don’t feel like I deserve it. That’s just it; I don’t deserve anything. But God did it anyway. That’s called GRACE.

GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

I am saved by grace through faith, not by anything I try to do on my own so I can’t boast about it. When I think of who I am because of Christ and what He’s done for me, JOY wells up within me. I tell you this because you can experience His JOY too; JOY in being His forever.

What have you discovered about JOY? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

On the Lookout for JOY, 


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  1. Oh my goodness!! I was just talking to the Father, telling Him I needed a new "heartitude" since I'm going through a little valley (I refuse to give it any more negative power than that!) and I feel like I've lost my joy. So I was actually looking up to see if heartitude was even in the dictionary and found your blog. This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear this morning and I thank God for bringing your post on finding joy in His Word to me. God has given you a great gift in writing and I pray He blesses you abundantly. Thank you for helping me get my day started on the right foot! Sami

  2. Sami, I love how the Holy Spirit knows what we need. He hears the cry of our heart and leads us to the answer we're looking for. I pray for your day today to be filled with HIS JOY.
    Thanks for stopping in and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Sometimes I think my expression of joy has to look like yours or her. You know? I am a laugh out loud, twirling in the sunshine kind of woman and honestly, Jeanne - I've always thought your quiet, peace-filled joy in the Lord looked better to Him than mine. Your joy in Him is evident in all you do for Him - so is mine. He sees what we can't. :) In this post, you took the passage and connected the dots beautifully. Thank you!

  4. Yes, the Holy Spirit works in amazing ways. Recognizing these 'coincidences' brings me huge joy because it reminds me of His constant care and presence. I just learned that the woman who saw an advertisement for faith bloggers in our online newspaper and encouraged me to fill the need, only went to the newspaper site that one day EVER!!! Truly God's work.

  5. Joy. thank you. For expressing that our joy may look different depending on our personality. Honestly, I think the enemy had robbed me of some of my joy over the last several years--though it is better now. Circumstances can cloud His glory. The Lord's Joy is my strength and it is found as I remember who He is and all He has done for me.

  6. Cathy, His fingerprints bring such a sense of JOY. A joy in knowing that He sees and hears us--and provides what we need to become more like Jesus.
    Thanks for sharing today.

  7. Jeanne,

    I appreciated your post. I love it when others can see joy in us. There is one thing I'm not sure I totally agree with. You said, "The closer I am to Him, the more joyful I am." I don't believe our joyfulness is an indicator of how close we are to Him. If that were true then those who are in the deep valley are not showing their closeness to Him. For me, some of my hardest times have been when I've been in the furnace. And to observers they may notice a peace, but I'm not sure they would describe me as full of joy. I see joy as a deep abiding knowledge that He is in control. It is loving Him no matter what. And giving Him glory when the world around is crashing.

  8. Anne,
    Thanks for clarifying this. Yes, I agree. I meant it was more from my abiding--knowing He is there though whatever I face. And, then in James where it says, Consider if pure JOY when you face trials. Not an easy thing to understand, yet God provides joy when we see how he has helped us persevere. I hope that helps to make my thoughts clear. My apologies if I seemed glib.

  9. Jeanne,
    I didn't see you as glib. It's just that some people are better at showing joy. But, I'm also realizing I need God to help me in this area. I did like your post a lot.

  10. Thanks again, Anne. I need help in this area too. I don't want to minimize how life can be. Or that being joyful is simplistic in any way. I appreciate the sharpening, my friend!!

  11. I posted on this verse last week and just this morning I was working on memorizing it...then I see your post.

    You have made known to me the path of life; YOU WILL FILL ME WITH JOY IN YOUR PRESENCE, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

    Our joy is in His presence! (AKA #2: Abide in Christ. :-)

  12. He will fill us with JOY--what a wonderful promise, Vonda. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and another wonderful JOY verse.

  13. Loved this blog, Jeanne. I believe we sometimes confuse Joy with happiness. Joy springs from the presence of God in our lives. It isn't dependent on what my circumstances are or the people around me. I tend to believe the more I am obedient to His way in my life, the more His Joy is experienced. Thank you, Jeanne
    Love Mom

  14. mom,
    I think you are right about the difference between joy and happiness. I heard someone say that, Happiness is dependent on what HAPPENS. Joy is from within because of who God is despite what we are facing.
    Thanks for your encouragement!

  15. Joy has been on my mind lately as well, Jeanne. And this morning, driving to work, singing praise songs, I realized that I was giddy-happy-in-love because of the Father. I laughed and thought, "This must be it! The joy the Bible talks about." My heart is overflowing. I look forward to having this feeling as much as possible! Blessings!

  16. Kendra, I have felt that full-of-love-and-blessing feeling too. The Lord revealed and very hard thing a few months ago and after I spent time in His presence, saw His truth for the situation in the Word, it was like I was filled with a bubble of air. I drove in my car, bopping along with praise music. I felt the fullness of God for sure.

  17. Jeanne, There's an old hymn that sings " unspeakable and full of glory..." in the chorus. I agree with Mom and other posts in that they clarify this Joy isn't linked to happiness, but to the Presence of the Lord in our lives. That said, if our affect isn't joyful, does that mean God isn't present? No. It just means He is all the more present as He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death or depression or at the bottom of whatever nameless valley where we find ourselves. And He pulls us from it through His gracious Presence. Praying for all who find themselves feeling stuck inside the nameless valley, may they never despair, but look Up to Christ, to God! Blessings in Jesus' Holy Name.

  18. Amen,and well said, Cass. His joy is a product of our relationship. Such a wonderful gift!

  19. You have written a beautiful letter to each of us, Jeanne. Thank you for hearing God's voice and sharing your findings with us. God's blessings to you.
    In Christ's love,
    Carole Castagna

  20. It is my JOY, Carol!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  21. Hi Jeanne,
    Our pastor did a great sermon series on the candles of Advent, one of which is the candle representing "joy" The word joy in the Greek is linked to the root of the word grace. The definition he gave us of joy is a good one, "A deeply felt sense of well-being that results from knowing and experiencing God's grace."
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  22. Thanks, Sheree, for sharing that. I love discovering the root meanings of words from the text. I found your pastor's sermon online and plan to listen to it soon. I appreciate your insights here.

  23. Thanks, Jeanne for this wonderful post. I sometimes think there's a famine in the land, when it comes to joy! Since I'm from a family of vine growers, the part about staying attached really speaks to me. In and of itself, the vine has no life at all!

  24. Thanks for your comment, Colleen. I'm thinking you mean the branch has no life at all (meaning us) without being attached to the Vine, who is Jesus.
    I really love these metaphors, don't you. They bring the images of Truth to life for us.


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