We take another step in the interpretation of maturity in this Epistle: “And we are writing this that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:4).
Joy is a mark of maturity. The sad, morose type of person is immature. For that unhappiness is being caused, almost entirely, through inner conflicts and wrong attitudes toward life. When we get rid of inner conflicts and wrong attitudes toward life, we will almost automatically burst into joy. We are made for joy—made for it in the inner structure of our beings. And when we are truly ourselves by being truly His, then we are joyous, constitutionally. Rendell Harris says: “Joy is the strength of the people of God; it is their chief characteristic.” Where there is no joy there is no Christianity, and where there is Christianity there is joy. “So there was much joy in that city,” was said of the Samaritan city, because “Philip . . .
proclaimed to them the Christ.” Christ and joy go together. Where He is, there is joy; and where He is not, there is sadness. “And he went away sadly”—everybody goes away from Christ sadly. For when you go away from Christ you go away from Joy. He is Joy—-a Fountain of Joy. The Christian way is piety set to music. It is fun!
“Mary” says: “How little it takes to make us happy when we are Christians and how little it takes to make us unhappy when we are not.” This is profoundly true, for the Christian is basically happy, and any little thing will set off that basic happiness into bubbling. But when you are not a Christian you are basically unhappy, and any little thing will bring out that basic unhappiness.
However, when everything is going Christ’s way, then you have a glorious feeling, for His way and our way are the same—basically the same. But when “His way” and your way conflict, you do not have the glorious feeling—you have a gloomy feeling. Sin is sad. It cannot be otherwise, for it is “missing the mark.”
E. Stanley Jones