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Daily Devotional: Tuesday, December 21 - The Joy of the Lord

“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)

Jesus came to bring about the fullness of joy in man. Often we see Christians who are not exhibiting a lifestyle of joy, and therefore we assume God is not a happy God. We see all the darkness that surrounds us and assume that God is most often angry or sad. But in John 17:13 (ESV), Jesus prayed to the Father: “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”

Jesus’s prayer in John 17:13 demonstrates two important, life-changing truths for you and me today. First, Jesus had joy. We could not have His joy fulfilled in us if He doesn’t have joy to start with. And the whole of Scripture supports the truth that within God dwells the fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11 (ESV) says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” And Galatians 5:22 tells us that joy is a fruit of the Spirit. The God whom you have been filled with at salvation longs to produce the fruit of joy in your life. He longs to make you a joyful person from the inside out so that your joy wouldn’t be based on circumstances or the fleeting whims of the world.

Second, John 17 tells us that we can have the joy of Jesus for ourselves. The God of joy longs to fill you to overflowing with satisfaction and hope. He longs to make your joy abundant and transcendent of the good or bad around you. God is joyful because it’s a part of His nature. And He longs for it to be the same with you.

Do you believe that God is a joyful god? Have you experienced how happy He is? Have you met with Him and encountered the joy and peace in His heart toward you? Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV) says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” God longs to meet with you today and fill you with overflowing joy. In Romans 15:13 (ESV), Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Joy is available to you today as you believe. There is hope in the Holy Spirit.

Come to God today with all your cares and burdens. Lay them at His feet and allow Him to fill you with peace and joy where only heaviness abounded. God longs to set you free from the burdens of anxiety. He longs to lead you to a life of happiness and freedom in the Spirit. As you enter into prayer, choose to commit to God anything that has been weighing you down. Come before Him with faith that He will shepherd you to greener pastures as you offer Him your heart and follow His guidance.

— Craig Denison, First 15

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