Commentary on "The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, January 9, 2010
This lesson begins with a contrast between happiness and joy: “Happiness is the result of favorable circumstances; joy, in contrast, is the result of being—as in being connected to Jesus, the True Vine.” In Psalms 4:7, David says that God has given him more joy than those with an abundant harvest. Happiness is fleeting and shallow, while joy is a deep, steady state of mind founded on trust in God. He has acted and continues to act to save those who trust Him.
How do we obtain this deep, steady state of trust in God? Everything in our modern culture, a culture that worships choice and self-reliance, militates against having a deep trust in anyone. Our damaged hearts need some very potent assurance from our Creator. The memory text today comes from our Lord Jesus:
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
In the next chapter, His death approaches, and Jesus gives the disciples more:
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:22
As One who is absolutely trustworthy, He will keep His promises. He would die, then live again, and never ever abandon us. That is something to get excited about, especially if the thought of being with Jesus forever brings you joy. If it doesn’t, you should consider taking Him up on His invitation. But that’s only half of the reason our joy is secure. Even though Jesus will live forever, we also need to have something else to remain joyful:
“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you…because I live, you will live also.” John 14:18, 19
Jesus assures us that we will remain alive with Him, that our lives are inseparable from His life as long as He lives. If you die and become unconscious in the grave, your joy has been taken from you. But Jesus has already promised us eternal life, life that can never be taken from us. Yes, that’s what eternal life means; you cannot lose it. When Martha told Jesus she knew she would see Lazarus again in the resurrection, Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life… everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
As a good Adventist, Martha believed that the resurrection was her hope after death. But Jesus added to her hope, and ours too, that He is both the resurrection and the life, that those who believe in Him will never die. The grave cannot separate us from Him, our lives are hidden with Him, and will continue to remain with Him at death. In contemplating his own impending death, Paul told the Phillipians,
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”
Having flesh is not necessary to be with Christ, for nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, neither death nor life! Our joy can be full because He has promised to never leave nor forsake us.
GO TO DAY 2
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