Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Abiding Joy

An Excerpt from Chapter Nine of 

Royal Bounty

Frances Ridley Havergal
(1836 - 1879)

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 
~ John 15:11

Who that has known anything of joy in the Lord but has asked, "But will it last?" And why has the question been so often the very beginning of its not lasting? Because we have either asked it of ourselves or of others and not of the Lord only. His own answers to this continually recurring question are so different from the cautious, chilling, saddening ones which his children so often give. They are absolute, full, reiterated. We little realize how unscriptural we are when we meet his good gift of joy to ourselves or to others with a doubtful, and therefore faithless, "if it lasts."

"To the law and to the testimony," O happy Christian! there you shall find true and abundant answer to your only shadow o the brightness of the joy. So long as you believe your Lord's word about it, so long it will last. So soon as you ask of other counselors and believe their word instead, so soon it will fail. Jesus meets your difficulty explicitly. He has provided against it by giving the very reason why he spoke the gracious words of his last discourse. "That my joy might remain in you." Is not this exactly what we were afraid to hope, what seemed toog ood to be true, that it might remain? And lest we should think that this abiding joy only meant some moderated measure of qualified joy, he adds, "And that your joy may be full," repeating in the next chapter and intensifying it in the next. And lest we might think this was said with reference only to an exceptional case he inspired his beloved disciple to echo the words in his general epistle: "That your joy may be full, and the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you."

Never in his Word are we told anything contradicting or explaining away his precious and reiterated promise. All through we are brightly pointed not merely to hope of permanence but to increase. "the meek shall increase [not merely shall keep up] their joy in the Lord." There are mingled promises and commands as to growth and increase in grace, knowledge, love, strength, and peace, and does not increase of these imply and insure joy? Is joy to be the only fruit of the Spirit of which it may not be said that it sprang up and increased?

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