John 15:11 (NKJV)
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

IN ALL THE TIME HE spent with His disciples Jesus never once spoke or taught of a life of happiness. Life in the Spirit is not and never will be based on happiness. As much as happiness is a positive uplifting experience, it’s flawed by earthbound short-sightedness.

Matthew 6:31-34 (NKJV)
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Too often we seek contentment in happiness, but as Jesus said in Mt. 6:25-34, we’re not to worry about these earthly comforts or situations. This fullness of joy is what Jesus speaks of in John 15. By first seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, our worldly needs become irrelevant because we’ve shifted perspective from an earthbound one to an eternal one.

As the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:10-13 (NKJV):
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

This was not an oath of poverty, Paul wrote this encouraging believers to not seek contentment in things that have no foundational permanency. The problem is we tend to confuse joy with happiness, pursuing the one that is based on circumstances and ignoring the one which creates emotional stability and maturity. Happiness is a result of temporal satisfaction, here today and gone tomorrow, while joy on the other hand is a permanent contentment as a result of abiding in His presence. This is walking in the Spirit, the peace that transcends all understanding. If we grasp this concept through the renewing of our minds, the absence of displeasure in our earthly lack becomes an opportunity for God to reach a lost generation chasing pleasures to appease the sensualities of their sinful nature.

Alf Collins

Alf Collins is a 41-year-old from sunny South Africa living about 45 kms from Durban, KwaZulu Natal. He is an aspiring writer in many fields and a digital artist in learning. His calling is to feed God’s sheep by teaching and preaching the Word through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.