Fullness of Joy

By Pastor Teck Uy

Why do many who claim to have spent a wonderful time in the presence of the Lord go home with the same heavy heart that they had at the beginning? Were they really in the presence of the Lord? If they were, they should have the fullness of joy, just as King David had said in Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” In this Psalm, we can see that there are three ways to receiving the fullness of joy. Unless we fully understand these, we will miss experiencing this fullness of joy.

The first of the three ways to experiencing fullness of life is the Path. We need to know the path to where God is. While people say that there are many paths to God, the Bible tells us that there is only one way to God and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus himself emphasized this when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  In fact, we are warned in the Book of Proverbs that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12). Therefore, any way that we take, other than through the Lord Jesus Christ, will lead to death. We cannot be too confident of ourselves that we indeed know the way only to find out in the end that we are lost.

Our knowledge of Scriptures is not enough to guarantee that we can enter the presence of God. This truth was learned the hard way by a young rich ruler. When he asked how he can inherit eternal life, the Lord Jesus responded by saying that he needs to follow the commandments. Assuring the Lord Jesus that he had kept the commandments since childhood, he was then told to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. Rich as he was, he chose to disobey and took another path that led him away from God. We were told that “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Matt. 19:22). Indeed, there is no joy away from the presence of God, no matter how rich you are.

The second way to enjoy the fullness of joy is to be in the Presence of God. As mentioned earlier, it is only in the presence of God that there is fullness of joy. Many have been saying that this presence of God will be experienced in heaven. However, in the prayer that the Lord Jesus taught his disciples, he implied that we can experience heaven here on earth when he said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). The fullness of joy that we experience in the presence of God is a result of us having been filled with the Holy Spirit. One of the nine fruit of the Spirit is joy.

How is joy different from happiness? While both are the results of emotions, joy is the attitude of the heart. We can be joyful even in the midst of trials and difficulties. This is the reason why the apostle James can say, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). On the other hand, happiness needs an outside trigger. Something or someone needs to trigger it to happen. If one gets promoted, he is happy because the promotion triggered it. However, this happy mood does not last long. Once the trigger is gone or wanes, then happiness also disappears. On the other hand, joy lasts as long as we are in the presence of God. And we can always be in the presence of the Lord when we are born again. Jesus said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"(Matt. 28:20).

The third way to enjoy the fullness of joy is to have the eternal Pleasure of God. We must understand that we are created for his pleasure. The works that we do and the lives that we live should be pleasing to God. In his epistle, the apostle Paul said, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:13). The best way to have the eternal pleasure of God is to remain in his love and we manifest this by loving one another as Jesus had loved us. To emphasized this, Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

Indeed, there is such a thing as fullness of joy in the presence of God even in this life, if have Jesus Christ in our lives. We are living is a perishing world where there is so much gloom and doom but we can restart life by being born again. The path to God’s presence is beyond tracing out and only the Lord Jesus Christ can lead the way. May we all seek the eternal pleasure of God as we serve him faithfully and enjoy fullness of joy in this life. Praise the Lord for his unfailing love!