John chapter 15 teaches the utmost importance of the believer abiding in his/her relationship with Christ. There is another truth about abiding in Christ that is a key to living the Christian life. Christians often seem to struggle with finding comfort and joy in there lives, especially when Jesus said that believers will face much tribulation. So how is comfort, joy and peace provided and sought after amidst tribulation?
John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"
2 Cor. 1: 3-4 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
Both of these verses teach believers a very important truth about comfort. First, Jesus tells us that God the Father will send us a Comforter (referring to the Holy Spirit) at the moment of salvation. What is interesting about this is that this word is capitalized and it is logical to conclude, for this reason and others, that this refers to a person. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we have the comfort we need. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be our comfort in this life. As long as a believer has the Holy Spirit, access to an abundance of comfort is available. Jesus also reiterates this in the last part of this verse, "that he may abide with you forever".
This verse in 2 Corinthians is an acknowledgment and adoration of the comforting ministry of the Holy Spirit, by way of recognition of God the Father. Similar Greek words are used for "Comforter" (John 14:16) and "Comfort" (2 Corinthians 1:3) are used, paraklētos and paraklēsis, respectively. These 2 words both have an idea of being "summoned" or "called", while God the Father summons the Holy Spirit to be a Comforter in John, Paul writes that believers are summoned to be look to God and be comforted. According to these verses, the Holy Spirit is a minister of comfort to the believer, all the days of his spiritual life, but the believer needs to (not only take advantage of that ministry) realize his or her call to come to God and be comforted.
John 15:11 "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
Col. 1:11 "Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;"
Joy is also obtainable through knowing what God has said in His Word. In John, in the context of teaching on abiding in our relationship with God, Jesus says that he's teaching these things so that his joy might remain in us AND that our joy might be full or be a perfect supply. What a blessing! Joy....true joy comes only from Jesus and that joy is perfect. Whatever trials come our way, the joy of the Lord will always prevail. The first thing that comes to my mind is the exclamation of Habakkuk's joy. Hab. 3:17-18 states:
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will JOY in the God of my salvation."
One of my favorite Bible writers is Paul and just reading through the prayers he had for others is edifying. Part of his prayer for the Colossians included that they would be joyful, but not only in general, joyfulness during trials. Patience and longsuffering are needed most during trials, but to add to that, to be joyful during those times is something that we can only obtain through the strength of our Heavenly Father.
When we learn to abide in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, all the comfort and joy we need is available.
John 15:4 "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."