Experiencing the fullness of joy
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
We will never experience the fullness of true spiritual joy outside of the presence of God. Yes we see people, who may or may not even know Christ, laughing, having fun and smiling in this world; but this is not true spiritual joy. Only in Christ can we experience the fruit of true spiritual joy and contentment in our lives; despite our suffering, despite our trials and tribulations, despite the storms.
You see, the gospel of Christ is not about pandering to the flesh and about the false hopes of an easy life on this earth. Much falsehood is spoken today of how we should not be suffering as Christians but should have earthly prosperity, earthly advantage and earthly ease of life. But the Word of God paints a very different picture of what our lives will reflect on this earth.
In fact, we are told to think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try us, as though some strange thing is happening to us. The Lord said to Ananias concerning Paul, "Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake."
What is often neglected in so much of what is being spoken in the world today, is that experiencing the fullness of the joy of the Lord comes not in times of great prosperity and ease, but in times of great suffering. In Matthew 5 it says that we are actually blessed when we suffer for Christ's sake.
But in nothing do we need to be terrified by our adversaries. Rather, we should rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, we may be glad also with exceeding joy.
So, if we be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are we; for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon us: on their part who bring the reproach he is evil spoken of, but on our part he is glorified as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so that our consolation, our hope, our trust and reliance also abounds by Christ in us and He alone."
Additional scriptures for reading:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
2 Timothy 3:12
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
1 Peter 4:12-14
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2 Corinthians 1:5
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-9
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.