The Fullness of Joy
July 28, 2022
And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:23-24).
Biblical joy is choosing to respond to external circumstances with inner contentment and satisfaction, because the believer knows God will use those circumstances to accomplish His work in and through their lives.
The words ‘may be full’ means to complete and therefore to be made permanent. It is the desire of the Lord to give us true spiritual joy, and for us to experience that joy to its fullest. For the disciples, knowing they could ask the Lord anything pertaining to His will and purpose would give them the assurance to approach God in His name. That would be of comfort to them and a source of great joy in the midst of all their challenges and trials.
There is, however, a caveat. Our asking must also be in accordance with God’s will and purpose. When the Lord pronounced judgment upon King David for his sin, He said, through Nathan the prophet, The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die (2 Samuel 12:13-14). After the prophet left, the child became gravely ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground (12:16), but the child died after 7 days (12:18).
The Apostle Paul spoke of a time when he was allowed to see the glory of heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-6). To prevent him from boasting about it, the Lord allowed him to be afflicted by a messenger (aggelos: angel) of Satan (most likely a demon; 12:7). Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (12:8-9).
Did God answer King David’s prayer? Yes. Did God answer the Apostle Paul’s prayer? Yes. Not according to their will, but according to His will and purpose for them. As Christians we must remember this, otherwise our praying will become frustrating and, eventually, we will declare it to be futile and we will stop praying. Though the answer of the Lord may not have made them happy, note the joy and confidence of David (2 Samuel 12:22-23), While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, “Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. Note the joy and confidence of Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Amen.