John 15:10-11 (NKJV)
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
I love to laugh. The laughter of my children always makes my heart smile. Laughter is joy and pleasure that cannot be contained so it spills out of our mouth. Sometimes it can be of a nervous nature but most often it is the result of happiness. Our daughter had a friend spend the night and we were going through her gallery of embarrassing pictures. Moments captured of her friends and even herself that left both girls in a pile of giggles rolling on the floor until their laughter became tears of pure delight. I couldn’t help but laugh at them laughing at me. So it seems laughter is contagious. It spreads “unspeakable” joy. Think about it. Have you ever laughed at the laughter of someone else, you have no idea why they are laughing but you cannot help being jovial, too? What happens next? You want to know the source of their happiness and delight. Jesus tells us that if we keep His Commandments that we will abide in His Love. Check. This is to follow His Example. Got it. These things that I (Jesus) have spoken to you is so that MY JOY (that’s the Lord) will remain in you and YOUR JOY will be full! How does that work exactly? There are a whole lot of “don’ts” in there that are a killjoy. Right? Well friend, apparently not if the Lord’s Objective is to fill us with His Joy!
Christians need to learn to laugh again. As a whole, we should learn to seek joy over all other things. The blessing of the Lord comes with no sorrow added. The absence of sorrow gives way for the presence of joy. Repentance offers us the opportunity to exchange the sorrow for our sin and accept the Joy of the Lord. Why don’t we have it? We don’t experience many things that Jesus promised simply because we do not trust Him or believe Him enough to follow Him. We cannot receive what we do not take. If I try to hand you a gift, but you refuse to reach out and take hold of it – what good is the gift?
John 16:23-24 (NKJV)
“And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
What are you praying about today? What are you asking for? It might surprise you to know that I do not pray for my son’s healing anymore. I don’t. I know that the Lord is healing him each day as his health improves so I thank God for it instead and rejoice in His Goodness rather than relishing in my problem. The Lord said, “Ask and you will receive it that your joy may be full.” When we desire something of the Lord, and continue to beg, plead and cry out without confidence it is a sure sign of the condition of our faith. However, if I know that God has promised what I am asking for then I can approach His Presence with confident hope that He will do it just like His Word says…if I do it the way that His Word tells me to do it. When I make a purchase from a store, it is important to know the return policy especially if I am not entirely certain of what I am purchasing. For example, if I go to Walmart I know that this particular retailer has a very customer friendly return policy if I am not completely satisfied. However, there if I am shopping with my daughter’s at one of their favorite clothing stores Forever 21 that they have a strict return policy. Basically, you buy it – then it’s yours! So when we are shopping in this particular store, they must try on the clothing and be certain it’s what they want. I make it a point to read the “return policy” before making any purchase after learning the hard way. As believers, our covenant with God including His Intentions towards us and Expectations of us are delineated in His Word. His Son came to give us access to His Presence so that we could come before Him with boldness. His Spirit is in us to identify us as His Children, guarantee our promises and show us how to redeem each one! The Lord tells us ask and I will give it to you so your joy may be full. We must find our place in the Presence of God to receive our joy! (Psalm 16:11)We should ask the Lord to restore the joy of our salvation so that we can overflow with laughter instead of tears. (Psalm 51:12)
Psalm 63:1-5 (NKJV)
O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your Loving Kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your Name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
God loves to hear us laugh. The Lord came to give us joy not a little but a lot. We should be happy people. Why aren’t Christians laughing? Have we lost our connection to the Source of Joy? (Romans 15:13) The Lord has promised that our joy would be full. Now we have to go after it! Do you spend any time seeking the Lord? Do you get up early to spend time with Him? Do you long for Him? If you ever get to the place in God’s Presence past the outer court where most people live to the inner court reserved for His Children, you will experience His Loving Kindness that is better than life. When my happiness was taken from me and human joy completely crushed by our son’s diagnosis, I had to find another source. When the hot fire of refinement made me a dry and thirsty land, I was desperate to be filled. In that moment of desperation when I knew that nothing else could satisfy my soul or save my breaking heart, I cried out for His Power and Glory. I wanted, needed and became desperate for all of Him. What happened next changed my life forever! I exchanged my sorrow for joy…before the process of healing ever began. It came with His Promise. “Your son will live and not die.” Why? Because my God was the only one who offered such a prognosis. In that moment, I began to praise Him. I decided to bless the Lord. I lifted my hands in worship. My soul became satisfied with His Word alone. The unthinkable happened beginning that very night. After receiving God’s Word that our son would live and not die – laughter erupted from his hospital room just an hour after they told us the devastating news. The nurses came to check on us only to find overwhelming laughter in a room that should have been shrouded in sorrow. This has been our experience for three years now and through four more relapses. The joy of the Lord is our strength and He is turning our mourning into laughter.
The Lord promises joy each morning. (Psalm 30:5) How many times do you dread the alarm clock? I do when it goes off but five or ten minutes later I am in the Word of God and suddenly not mad about it anymore. There is something else we are given each morning. God promises us that His Mercy will come fresh to us every morning. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your Faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24) Each morning I have the opportunity to trust the Lord with my life. When I choose to give Him all my cares, worries and burdens my doubt has taken back and decide to put my hope in Him – He gives me joy! It is my choice to have it. I must look for it. I must discover how to live in it.
Job 8:19-21 (NKJV)
“Behold, this is the joy of His Way and out of the earth others will grow. Behold, God will not cast away the blameless nor will He uphold the evildoers. He will yet fill your mouth with laughing and your lips with rejoicing.”
God wants to fill our mouth with laughing and lips with rejoicing. God is our Father. As a parent, I understand the concept of tough love. There are things that my children may want at the time due to a lack of wisdom that I must keep from them. For example, they may want to touch the glowing red light on top of the stove. But I know that the burner is hot and they will get hurt if they touch it so I keep them from it. I am not being mean. I am showing them love. It’s okay when we do it, but if God withholds something that could potentially harm us most people walk away from Him. We must gain wisdom. Without wisdom, we will never understand the extent of God’s Faithfulness, Goodness and Perfection concerning us. We cannot understand the parameters of His Love and the true measure of His Kindness – if we do not recognize Him in our life. (Proverbs 3:13-14) It is such wisdom that makes us happy because we can see His Love and our place in it. Happy are the people whose God is the Lord. (Psalm 144:15) Is Jesus the Lord of your life? Happy is the one who puts their hope in Him. (Psalm 146:5) Do you trust Him enough to wait on Him? Happy is the person who heeds God’s Word. (Proverbs 16:20) Are you applying God’s Word to your life? All of it, leaving nothing out because you do not like what it says. Trust in the Lord produces joy in our life. (Psalm 5:11-12) Do you trust the Lord today? No joke. It’s the only way to find true happiness, be full of joy and overflow with laughter!
Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
God has given us everything we need to be happy. If not a single situation in our life changed for the better, we can still have inexpressible joy. It is the Lord’s Intent that our joy be full! His Spirit is constantly producing love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in the every believer who is intent in living God’s Way according to His Word ready to have His Will. We aid this process by feeding our mind the Word so the Spirit can work it through our heart and mind. Once we have made up our mind that His Love is real and intended for us never striving against us – our joy will be full. No joke.
I Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.