Have you ever been through a season of life where you had to fight to keep your joy? We’ve all been there! In part 2 of our For the Joy mini series, we’re discovering 3 tips for experiencing the joy of the Lord to the fullest, even through the challenging circumstances we’ll inevitably face in our lives!
In The Secret to Fullness of Joy, Pastor Aaron Johnson shares an encouraging word filled with relatability and understanding as we discover the need to “Abide and Not Hide,” We all experience seasons of life where it’s challenging to keep our joy–God understands and is here to help!
At timestamp 2:26 in his message, Pastor Aaron shares a personal reflection of a time in his life when keeping his joy alive felt nearly impossible, and it’s safe to say we’ve all been there before! Whether in the past or even the present tense here and now, we have and will face temptations for our joy to be stolen from our lives.
God’s desire for all of us is to walk in the fullness of joy. He wants to help us learn that no matter what our circumstances may be, no matter what we’re facing, no matter what we know and don't know about things that may come against us in the future–even through all of that, we can daily walk in the fullness of joy that comes for the Lord. Amen!
In The Secret to Fullness of Joy, at timestamp 9:59, Pastor Aaron sets the stage for us as we dive into our foundational scripture for this message. He explains the intimate details of the Last Supper as Jesus shares with His disciples important things that He wants them to know before He goes to the cross.
In John 15:11 (NKJV), Jesus says, 11“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Simply put, the secret to living in fullness of joy is Jesus Christ! Many people in this world will say that if you do this, do that, achieve this, achieve that–these things will give you joy and happiness in life. As believers, we know that there is only one source for true joy and happiness in this life, and that is our Lord and our Savior, Jesus!
Jesus uses a powerful illustration in the New Testament book of John to help teach us how to live in fullness of joy.
John 15:1-2 (NKJV) 1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
As we see in the picture above and in the passage from John, Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and, in this case, joy is the fruit. There are 9 fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-26, with joy being the second fruit. Jesus is telling His disciples that this is how our Heavenly Father has set up our relationship so that we may live in fullness of joy. Amen!
In the original Greek translation, the phrase “takes away” in John 15:2 translates to mean “to lift up, to bear up, or to carry.” This means that, as believers, when we are in seasons of life where we feel like we’re not bearing fruit–not extending the joy that God designed us to live in–Jesus will carry us and lift us up!
Similarly, the Greek translation for the word “prunes” in the second part of John 15:2 translates to mean “to cleanse, to purge, or remove unhealthy qualities.” As followers of Christ, the Lord looks out for us! We have to be willing to allow God to purge and cleanse us so that we can walk in the fullness of joy He intends for us to!
The secret to fullness of joy is to abide in Christ Jesus like the branch abides in the vine, and also to not hide from God and let Him adjust the areas of our lives that need adjusting so that we can be positioned to bear fruit and bear joy.
Has there been a time when your fullness of joy faded or wavered? How did Jesus lift you up and carry you through that difficult circumstance?
Reflect on a time when you needed God to remove your unhealthy qualities. What did it look like in your life to surrender to His will and allow God to cleanse you?
In The Secret to Fullness of Joy, Pastor Aaron gives us 3 simple, practical ways to abide and stay connected to Jesus Christ, the only source for true joy.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
We have this promise from our Lord and Savior saying that if we choose to start out everything, in regards to our lives, every day by diligently seeking Him and choosing to live under His care and direction, then the result will be that everything we need will be given to us…including fullness of joy!
Psalm 119:105 (NLT) Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
We need to live our lives in such a way that we are positioned to hear from the Lord. Hearing from God starts with being intentional about spending time in His Word, the Bible. God’s highest and best is that we’re not just getting fed the Word by sitting in service every Sunday; He wants us to be fed the Word every single day!
When we remain in the Word, God illuminates where we should be going in life because we have chosen to follow him and passionately pursue His will.
James 2:26 (NLT) Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
It’s not just enough to hear the word; we have to do the word. Just knowing what God is telling us to do isn’t going to cut it–we have to take action and step out in faith by continuing to be involved in the things that are important to Jesus.
Jesus is building His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Whatever is important to Jesus is important to us. If you want to walk in the fullness of joy, spend time in the Word and make going to church a priority!
What does “seeking first the kingdom of God” mean to you? How can you seek Him first in your day-to-day life?
Has there been a time when you heard God’s Word but struggled to cooperate with its teaching? How did God restore and encourage you during that season?
Here’s the deal: We can’t hide from God when He is working to help us adjust areas of our lives so that we can bear fruit and produce joy. We can’t push God away when He’s challenging us! We should live in such a way where we’re looking for God to put us through situations that will be challenging, but that we can also have victory over so that we move forward in life. Amen!
In The Secret to Fullness of Joy, at timestamp 26:48, Pastor Aaron reflects on the ways in which we all need to feel supported and resourced for success. Yet, as Christians, sometimes in life we get overly confident in ourselves and think that we don’t need God’s supervision or intervention. This looks like hearing the Word but not abiding in it.
We need to respect, worship, and honor God enough to say help me, teach me, show me, correct me, adjust the areas of my life that need adjusting so that we can be set up to be successful and fulfill everything that He has planned for us!
2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT) All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
James 1:2-4 (NLT) 2Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
We have the opportunity to tap into victory over the troubles and tribulations we’ll inevitably face when we’re willing to walk in God’s victory, in His fullness of joy. Amen!
Has there been a time in your life when you’ve tried to hide from God’s guidance or prompting? How did it feel to surrender your will to His?
Think about a time when your faith was tested. How did your endurance grow after that life season?
Unless we abide in Christ Jesus and allow Him to work in our lives, we will never be able to fully produce fruit or experience fullness of joy. He is the source of joy! Regardless of the challenges or difficulties we’re facing, victory is available to us through Jesus!
Nothing is too late for God to produce fruit in your life! Let’s allow God to resurrect our joy as we choose to seek Him and allow Him to adjust the areas of our lives that need correcting so that we may be positioned to bear fruit and experience fullness of joy. Amen!
Thank you, Father, for the opportunity to come together, get in your Word, and come to know you more through this teaching. Lord we know that when your Word goes forth, it will not return to you void; it will accomplish what you set out for it to accomplish. Thank you for that gift, God! Please keep this message in our hearts as we continue through various seasons in our lives–those where joy feels effortless and those where maintaining joy is more of a challenge. We love you, Lord. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!