|Joy In This World |
|April 12, 2010 |
"But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves."
John 17:13 (ESV)
Our tendency is to put off to a tomorrow of speculation those joys that could be ours if we embraced them. We talk fondly of heaven and all the joys associated with that celestial realm while we set our jaws firmly and lean forward into troubles of the present. There is something to be said about patience and perseverance, and there are times when we must walk with determination through the unanswered questions and unsolved mysteries. But Jesus seemed to live on the earth with a joy that was a present reality.
Several times in this last discourse with his disciples he mentioned the joy issue. He reminded them that he was leaving them "his" joy. It was different from the gaiety of the world around them. He walked with a sense of purpose knowing he was the Son of the Father. He was confident that his assignment was to reflect the Father's image to all who wanted to observe. He was never conscious of unmet need. He trusted the Father to provide whatever was needed for him to carry out his job. He never feared what others might do to him since he was sure that nothing could get through Father's hands to disrupt the plan. Only when his hour had come could any of the devious plans of hell have any effect on him.
It was this joy that Jesus was leaving for his disciples. They would not have to wait for death to experience this heavenly joy. It was theirs to enjoy on earth as part of their inheritance. They would be the "sons" of God on earth after his departure. They would demonstrate what partnership with the Father looks like. They would not need to deny the problems they faced. They would be able to see through them and recognize the solution in the Father's provisions. And they would live with the full assurance that after their assignment was complete they would live in his glory forever. Heaven would not be a surprise for them. They would have lived with a heavenly perspective before they got there.
There is surely a joy that will be ours in heaven, but there is a joy for the earth also. Let us embrace the privilege of being sons of the Father.