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To Have Joy

Joy, let's talk about that for a little while. What is it to be joyful? Can we have joy? How do we become joyful? A host of questions can be asked, we certainly can and should have joy in our lives. The Scriptures share plenty about joy and that it should be a characteristic of every believer. Joy is a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. In the New Testament it is virtually always used to signify a feeling of happiness that is based on spiritual realities and separate or independent of what happens. It has a great depth of assurance and confidence that brings about a cheerful heart. This is similar to hope we discussed in last week's blog. It is not an experience that comes from favorable circumstances but is God's gift to believers. It is a fruit of the Spirit, second in a list listed just behind love. (Gal.5:22)
Joy is a deep-down feeling in our inner being knowing that there is peace between God and us and all is well between the two parties. What greater joy could man have? Prov.15:13 states, "A joyful heart makes a cheerful face". Happiness is different from joy in that happiness depends on happy circumstances. Happiness is affected by what one has, joy is affected by what one is. Changed circumstances may make us happier, but a changed life will make us better, for it will make us like Christ. The great D. Martyn Lloyd Jones says, "He satisfies my mind, He satisfies my emotions, He satisfies my every desire. He and His great salvation includes the whole personality and nothing less, and in Him I am complete. Joy, in other words, is the response and the reaction of the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Shall we maximize our joy? Let us know repentance brings joy (Luke 15:7,10), the hope of future glory brings joy(1Pet.4:13), the Lord's word brings joy (John 15:11), prayer brings joy (John 16:24), giving brings joy (2Cor.8:2). Joy and rejoicing are found most frequently in the Psalms, about 80 times, and the gospels around 40 times. Joy can be present and evident in a believer's life during difficult, perplexing, challenging times as it was for the disciples as in John 16:20-22. Jesus finishes those verses with, "And no one will take your joy from you." Our joy is supernaturally given to us by the Holy Spirit. The Christian's life should be characterized by joy because it was founded on faith in Jesus Christ. Christ's coming in the flesh was proclaimed to us as “Good news of great joy for all people."(Luke 2:10) And in His high priestly prayer later in life, "But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in them” (John 17:13)
In Hebrews 12:2, the writer states, "For the joy set before Him." We surely cannot fathom the joy the Savior was contemplating as He endured the cross. Being re-united with His Heavenly Father, the One He had eternal fellowship with even before the world began, the glory He had with the Father before the world began, sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God, a rejoicing for the sake of His elect, lost people that He would save, and knowing He would not lose one of them, would prepare a place for them that where He is they would someday be too, to enjoy the pre-incarnate life He had in the bosom of the Father. Oh, what a joy He must have had. And we have so much joy to look forward to as Psalm 16:11 reminds us, "In His presence there is fullness of joy, and at His right-hand pleasures forevermore." Fullness of joy, I can't wait, how about you?
Elder Randy Slak