“I was in John’s first letter this morning,” Stan began, “and I saw something that gave me a different way of looking at joy.”
“Joy?” I responded. “What was that about?”
“As you well know,” Stan replied, “joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit who is present in all believers. He is in me to manifest His fruit, which includes joy. Whether He can do that depends on how open I am to having Him do it.”
“Sounds about right,” I responded. “But you said you saw something different. What was that?”
“At the beginning of John’s first letter,” Stan said, “he explained why he was writing the letter. The reason he gave was so that there could be complete joy, both by him and by the readers, including me. It was and is about the joy of sharing the truth of Christ Jesus, from conversion to transformation.”
“For me,” Stan continued, “this opens the door to seeing why it is crucial for me to share with you, and with each person God brings before me, the truth of all God has for us. And that sharing is not to be done just so you and others will know the truth, but it is also so I can experience the joy of seeing a converted and transformed life.”
“But,” I replied, “isn’t every Christian obligated to share the truth with those who do not know?”
“Yes,” Stan responded, “it’s an obligation that flows from thanksgiving for all that God has done, but if I see it just as an obligation, rather than the source of complete joy in being allowed to do it, I think I am way off base.”
Continuing, he said, “If it’s seen merely as an obligation, I will probably get tired of doing it just like I do with a lot of things that I see only as an obligation. But if I look at it as a source of complete joy, it is open-ended. The joy just gets greater and deeper the more I share!”
“In addition to your personal joy,” I responded, “I bet there is a good chance that the people who are a source of joy to you will also be filled with joy and will go on to share that joy with others.”
“Very true,” Stan replied. “I think that is how God intends for the church to grow, not only in numbers, but also in maturity.”
And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 1 John 1:4.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the joy of your provision of life eternally with you when it is time. Thank you, too, for the joy of being allowed to know you and Jesus ever more deeply on this side of eternity. I thank you also for the joy of being allowed to share my joy with others so that they will come to you in conversion and in being transformed. I confess that too often I fail to be filled with the joy you intend, as well as failing to share the joy that is mine through your Holy Spirit. Please forgive me. And please help me to follow your lead in being filled to overflowing with your joy. May that joy be complete. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Is sharing the truth of salvation and transformation a joy or just something you think you are supposed to do? What does it look like to have complete joy on this side of eternity?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.