2001-11-05 - Joy
Isaiah 65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness.
We all have our grumpy moments, but all in all, Christians are to cultivate the habit of joy. There is a kind of joy that is peculiar to a Christian that the non-Christian can never know. Both Christians and non-Christians experience natural joy, the kind of joy we feel when we get something new, or when something goes well for us. However, the Christian knows another kind of joy and this kind of joy is found in the source of joy, or the Christian's object of joy; namely God. As David says in Psalm 43:4, "Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I will praise You, O God, my God."
Heavenly joy is the joy we know through Christ. Christ's exaltation in heaven is called His joy (Hebrews 12:2) and our joy in God is through the ministry and redemption of Christ for us. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. It seems that our joy is to promote God's honor by walking obediently in faith. When our joy is turned inward and is reflexive upon ourselves it should be due to our clear conscience regarding our relationship with the Lord. "For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another." Galatians 6:3,4
We can also have joy because of our opportunities to minister to others. Paul tells the church in thessalonica that they are his "glory and joy," 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20. We even have a perplexing admonition in James 1:2, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials." How about that? Try looking at the struggles you experience in life and the trials you undergo as times to view life with, "all joy." How about even asking God to send you some trials so that you can have more joy? I'm not sure I'm up to that one.
We are prone to look for our joy outside of Christ. There is a kind of joy we can experience in things and events in life, but such joy is temporary. As the hymn by Horatius Bonar says, "solid joys and lasting treasure, none by Zion's children know." Solid joys, that really does sum up what the Christian has in Christ. There are other joys out there, but only the Christian can know solid joys. "So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped." 2 Chronicles 29:30
Soli Deo Gloria,