THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT—JOY
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be fulfilled.” — Joh_15:11.
JOY IS a spontaneous thing. The joy of a little child, like the carol of the lark, arises naturally and easily when certain conditions are fulfilled, so if we would experience the joy of Christ we must realize the conditions He lays down. If we are grafted into the true Vine, there is nothing to check the inflow of His love to us, if we do as He tells us, and forbear doing what He forbids—then Joy will come to us as a flood.
“‘Abide in Me”—it is inferred, of course, that we are in Christ. It was not always so. Once we were outside, separate from Christ, “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” We were shoots in the wild vine, partaking of its nature, involved in its curse, threatened by the axe which lay at its roots. But all this is altered now. The Father, who is the Husbandman, of His abundant grace and mercy, has taken us out of the wild vine, and grafted us into the true, and we have become one with Christ. When, therefore, we are told to abide or remain, it is only necessary that we should stay where He placed us. You are in a lift until you step out of it; you are on a certain road until you take a turning to the right or left, although you may be too engrossed in converse with a friend to think of the road; so amid the pressure of duties and care, you remain in Christ unless you consciously, by sin or unbelief, thrust yourself away from the light of His face into the darkness. When, therefore, the temptation arises to leave the words of Christ for the maxims of the world, resist it and you will still remain in Him. Whenever you are tempted to leave the narrow way of His commandments to follow the desires of your own heart, reckon yourself dead to them, and you will remain; whenever you are tempted to forsake Christ’s love for jealousy, envy, hatred, resist these impulses and say, “I elect to remain in the love of God.”
Thus abiding in Him you will learn to know His mind, and will naturally ask those things which His love is only too willing to grant. “Ye shall ask what ye will.” We must remove any hindrances from the indwelling of Christ, then His love will break out into song, and we shall share in His joy. It will remain in us, and our capacity for joy will be fulfilled.
O Thou who art the True Vine, I desire to abide in Thee, that I may bear abundant fruit for Thy glory, and my life be full of Thy joy. AMEN.