John and Paul, two great pillars of the Christian Faith both talk about Joy. John in 1 John encouraged his readers to complete joy together with him. Paul in Philippians 2 had enough joy to share with his readers encouraging them to take a portion for themselves while giving some of their joy to him.
Joy is defined as intense happiness. What could be the source of this intense happiness for these two men? What could create such satisfaction for them that they were able to share it with others and invited others to share with them?
The Word of Life, Jesus, the Son of God, had everything to do with the joy John and Paul experienced. John in 1 John put it this way. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” 1 John 1:1 (emphasis added)
John conveyed in this one verse the experience they had with the Word of Life (Jesus). He had been made visible to them. The essence of God was spoken to them, shown to them, seen by them, and able to be touched. It was not hidden, remote, and foreign. The Word of Life was up close and personal.
What made the most impact to John was the message from Jesus, the Word of Life. The message they heard was “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5. Light is defined as “Visible Radiant Energy”. It was the Visible Radiant Energy of God that had been experienced by John and all who experienced Jesus when He walked on this earth. There was nothing in Jesus that was not “Visible Radiant Energy”.
John encouraged his readers (and us) to “walk in the light”. He encouraged those who read his letter to walk in the “visible radiant energy” of Jesus. It is when they walked in the glorious strength of God that could be seen, they had oneness with Him. It was then, they could and should admit they fell short of the greatness of the one they were walking with. When they admitted they fell short, they would be brought closer to the “Visible Radiant Energy” and have their “lack of meeting the standard” removed. That is what brought the joy.
Joy came because they were experiencing one to one fellowship with the “Visible Radiant Energy”, the Source of all Life. NOTE: You can read in 1 John 1:8,10 what happens if you think you have enough light of your own and don’t need the Light of God.
I am reminded of Jesus’ command, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 Could we replace the word “light” with “Visible Radiant Energy”? How would your life look different if you let the Visible Radiant Energy of God shine before men? The Visible Radiant Energy that brings joy as it moment by moment experiences one to one fellowship with the Source of Life. That would be the exhibition of true joy.
Paul, in Philippians 2, encouraged shared joy when he and his readers clung tightly to the Word of Life. It was when the people chose the joy of a relationship and oneness with Christ to be of more rejoicing than their own personal needs and comforts. Paul encouraged himself and his readers to “regard one another as more important than yourselves”. This was spoken from a man who willingly suffered for the cause of Christ, full of joy at all times. His joy came not because of his circumstances but because of his companion.
The essence of our joy is not our circumstances but our companion. Who are you doing life with? Do you have the Word of Life as your companion? Are you walking with the Visible Radiant Energy day by day?
We will only have double joy when we share our joy with others. We first must share the joy of the Visible Radiant Energy, walking with Jesus daily in fellowship with Him. We must allow Him to cleanse us of every way we don’t show forth His greatness. We should fellowship with others who are also walking in this marvelous Light. We have enough joy for ourselves and to share with others.
Paul encouraged his readers to possess this Word of Life and this joy without grumbling or complaining in order to show to the world you are children of God being made perfect in Him. (Philippians 2:14-15)
May we all experience the joy that comes by personal companionship with the Word of Life, holding fast to Him, letting him purify us moment by moment, and letting His Visible Radiant Energy shine through us. This is the essence of real joy.
Written By: Anne Gurley