John 16:23-24 (NLT)
At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
Oh the joys…there are many scripture references to joy but is there evidence of joy in our life. Are you happy? I know, I know settle down. Happiness is an emotional reaction yada yada! Religion can make us happy but it cannot produce joy in our life. Certain situations can produce immediate and temporary happiness in the life of an individual but joy is abides it is not fleeting. If we can just get past our ignorance of who God is and what His Intentions are in our life maybe just maybe we could experience true and abiding joy as a believer.
We just celebrated our daughter’s marriage to a wonderful young man. We love our new son-in-law but he is still just a human being like the rest of us. In the midst of his talents, attributes and strengths, there is still a sinful nature wrapped in rebellion, weakness and imperfection just like the rest of us. Off and on since they left on their honeymoon, she has text me. I asked her, “So how’s married life?” She responded, “Well, I still love him so that’s a bonus!” After a few days in a beautiful if not perfect Caribbean setting on an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid vacation, she still loves him. Her happiness is evident in each message and picture that she sends. But what about after the honeymoon, when reality sets in. These two are best friends. They have literally grown up together and still have a lot of growing up to do. Will they be happy when the apartment walls close in? When they both want to get ready at the same time? How about if money gets tight? Or if they experience a setback of some sort? Will they be happy? Nobody is happy when unexpected trouble or trials hit their life but you can have joy. Joy is not happiness along which can come and go. It is happiness based on contentment. It is for this reason that I am confident that this young couple will make it. The foundation of their marriage is first and foremost their love and commitment to Jesus Christ and then they love each other with all of themselves.
Jesus promised that through our relationship with Him that we would have abundant joy. Do you have joy today? Are you truly content in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Can you smile through trouble? Can you laugh in the midst of your tears? Only those who truly know and love Jesus Christ with all that they are can ever know joy plus contentment like that…oh the joy!
Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Oh the joy! I want that joy every day in my life. But in order to have such joy, I must first identify the source of all my joy. God is the Source of my joy. (Psalm 43:3-4) It is the Light of His Love that comes into my life permeates the thick walls of my hardened heart allowing me to know and experience real love once again. He becomes our sustenance and fills us with contentment so we are free to love others including ourselves expecting nothing in return. We must call on Jesus to make our relationship with God-the Father in right standing once again. When we do, joy is a product of our salvation. Such a source allows us to prosper in every season of our life because this world is no longer the premise of our joy. By faith, we have hope in the future that goes beyond this life and the circumstances surrounding it.
Psalm 4:6-8 (NLT)
Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
Who will show us better times? No one. Not to say that others will not try to fill the voids of our life, but they will fail even those who love us the most. My husband and I love each other very much. I believe that he is the soul mate created just for me. However, that does not mean that we do not disagree, argue and fight sometimes as our sinful nature and flesh are weak. If anyone on this planet can make me happy, it should be my husband but he cannot do it all the time. There are some days when my heart is so broken, all my strength has failed, and hope seems lost that no one can fix it like Jesus can. If we can just turn our eyes to the Lord and expect Him to be our joy, we will be content. Joy is a product of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) He fills us with true joy, as well as many other wonderful things that allow us to prosper. God gives us great joy. He delights in us faults and all. Sometimes I must remind myself…oh the joy!
Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT)
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
You know that feeling at night that wakes you up to discover that your spouse has taken all the covers leaving you exposed or maybe if you are single, somehow you have worked your way out from under the blanket so you become cold? I believe that as a believer that when I begin to feel my joy slipping away or dissatisfaction overwhelm me that it is time to reevaluate my covering. Have I somehow worked my way out of the Presence of God? That is always the case. Taste and see that the Lord is good is a commitment. Smelling is one thing but tasting is another. I can smell all the cookies and cupcakes that I want but when I start tasting is when I get all the calories. It is in that moment, my entire being responds as now it is not about my feelings but an internal process as I chew, swallow and begin to digest all its yummy goodness. My mouth is watering now. Too many times, we do not “taste and see” that the Lord is good. Those who become one with God through Jesus Christ are given the Holy Spirit to consummate the relationship. Now everything bit of goodness that the Lord has for our life can be ours if we choose to participate in the relationship as well. God is a gentleman who will not force His Intentions on anyone. His Spirit is not going to make you accept prosperity and goodness in your life if you do not want more of the Lord. But those who develop an appetite for the things of God will have all that they need. Those who trust the Lord will lack no good thing. Pursing a growing and thriving relationship with the Lord will inevitably produce joy in our life. (Psalm 22:26) Do you want joy? You must want Jesus to find it.
Psalm 16:7-11 (NLT)
I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Joy is found living in the Presence of God. Psalm One tells us that it is not found by “following the advice of the wicked, standing around with sinners, or joining in with mockers.” We are in this world but not of the world. You do not have to do what everyone else is doing. You do not have to go with the flow in fact the Highway of Holiness is a barren roadway. Not many people are willing to forego the joys and pleasures of this life to commit to stepping out on faith, walking in righteousness and holding on to hope. This is most definitely not a fashionable trend. However, if you want joy that is marked by contentment it is found in just one place. You cannot live in the sin and darkness of this world and bask in the Glory of His Love. You must make a choice. With that choice comes a commitment to pursue it until the end. This is called endurance. I am thrilled my daughter and her husband were blessed with a fabulous honeymoon. But I think the real reward should come after they have been married ten years and still love each other remaining committed. I have many friends who like the excitement of courtship, the attention of the engagement, the highlight of the wedding and even the honeymoon who have divorced soon after marriage not once but many times. Joy is found living in the Presence of God. It is a product of salvation. We must learn to live with our Bridegroom and stop running around with everyone else. It is in that place that His Presence surrounds us with strength and becomes a shield around our life so we can maintain our joy no matter how things look or the battle we are currently engaged in. (Psalm 28:7) Love is a commitment to live with someone. I am committed to spending my life with my husband. But first and foremost, I have committed my whole life to Christ. I must ask myself daily if I am living in His Presence?
Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT)
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
Joy is a condition of salvation. If you are saved and set free from sin, the Holy Spirit immediately begins to produce joy in our life. As long as we continue to remain committed to the Lord, this is the production in our life. When we lose sight of the importance, relevance, effectiveness and prosperity of our salvation, it tends to lead to wandering and discontentment. We must continually commit our heart and mind to our relationship with Jesus Christ. I must pay attention to my husband. We must communicate to have a good marriage. My relationship to God through Christ Jesus is not different. As we strive to know and understand salvation and become desperate for a deeper more meaningful relationship with the Lord, He does a work in us. (Philippians 2:12-13) He shows us how to please Him and what to do. His Word directs us from good thing to good thing in our life. We must trust the Lord enough to stay with Him and worship Him no matter what the cost. (Psalm 40:4) This life isn’t for everyone only those who are desperate for His Joy and every other fruit that He promised. (Psalm 34:4-6) For those who do, He promised to turn our mourning into joyful dancing. He clothes us in His Joy! (Psalm 30:11-12) This is part of how God works every detail our life for good! (Romans 8:28) All because He loves us!
Psalm 42:4-6 (NLT)
My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the House of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
Did you wake up this morning subject to the monotony of life? Did you wonder where your joy went? I did. The last three years of our life have been long and hard. But we won! Our son is alive. Just a couple days ago another miracle has happened, the endocrinologist went to take a closer look at the nodule in his thyroid feared to be cancer. It had stopped growing so the doctors went ahead with his transplant. Now it was time to deal with this nasty little problem that had shown up on several scans even the most recent one a month ago. Well, the tumor is gone. Completely gone with no evidence that it ever was. Praise God! Why did I not run around screaming and shouting? Where was the elation? Our daughter just got married and according to the happy couple, their day was perfect! What more could a mother ask for? I say all this to say that sometimes in the midst of great victory, we must find new strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength. He leads me from victory to victory by the Power of His Love. I am desperate for His Joy today. All I had to do was ask! God is my hope and salvation. I have peace that His Love has enough grace to see me through even when my joy is a bit leaky. All I have to do is step into His Presence and my joy is renewed. Oh the joys “because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” (Psalm 63:7-5) It is not your job to make yourself happy, but it gives the Lord Profound Pleasure to give you abundant joy! Reach out and take today!
Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
Psalm 90:14-17 (NLT)
Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!