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.
There is no greater or more satisfying feeling than joy. The exhilaration in our heart that fills us naturally with endorphins and satisfies our soul. There truly is nothing like it. Few truly experience the inexpressible joy that is offered in our Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. There are many unhappy Christians. Overwrought believers consumed with the worries and covered in the cares of life that are paddling just to keep their head above the water. Where do we find joy? In a world slowly be overtaken by evil and love that is more than cold but nonexistent, where can I find my joy in these things. My heart is terrified at the thought of my children living through the end times. The ruthless brutality and war waged against humanity flashing on the television screen in vivid detail. My cries for the Lord to come quickly and save us from this mess whisking us away together to be with Him and escape the madness. The enemy knows that his time is almost up and he is acting accordingly. Yet, today in the midst of chaos there is joy. I have felt it in the oddest times when I almost thought that I was going crazy. Joy is an “emotion” that is contrary to the world’s way that when you truly experience it – it seems a bit odd yet intoxicating. Like the first breath of air after a long swim under water, it expands your heart and fills your soul with life again. I want joy. Not just for a moment, a day, a season, but the inexpressible and constant joy promised in the Word of God for all believers. (I Peter 1:8)
Inexpressible joy comes from Jesus. How do I know? The Word tells me so. When John baptized Jesus in the Jordan, the Heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and God the Father said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” (Luke 3:22) God said, it that settles it in my book. His Spirit produces joy in my life. It is one of the many fruits of the Spirit which means it does not naturally occur in the world. (Galatians 5:22-23) Jesus graciously told us before going to the Cross that a time was coming when you wouldn’t have to ask a man for anything but go straight to the Father and He would grant that request in the Name of His Son, Jesus. Ask in His Name and we will receive. But our Savior didn’t stop there but added that “…and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:23-24) The Kingdom of God in us is expressed in our life when our life is evident of God’s Goodness, His Peace and His Joy produced by His Spirit in us. (Romans 14:17) How do I make this joy exist in my life? Where do I find it? Simple. Jesus must become not only one’s Savior but also their Lord. (Psalm 2:11-12)
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked...” It is good common sense that through repentance there must be a change. God’s Grace afforded through the Life Blood of His Son Jesus will never contradict any other part of God’s Word or Way. This is so important today as many false teachers are telling people differently. To repent of our sin is to turn from it. If you desire joy, it requires repentance. To turn from our sin and wrong way of doing things and strive to do the right thing all the time. A life of integrity or true repentance will also begin producing joy in our life. (Psalm 119:1) The Bible says that the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding is joyful. (Proverbs 3:13) We must turn from sinners and their opinion and step into the Presence of God to establish joy in our life. (Psalm16:10)
“…Or stand around with sinners…” Not only must we use common sense to seek wisdom from the Lord and gain understanding but we must not become complacent in our pursuit of the Lord. Just because you have the good sense to accept Jesus as Savior, one must still use that initial judgment to constant turn more and more of our life over to Christ. Salvation can cause us to make better choices instantly that will benefit our life making it better than we ever thought it might be. True and complete joy are not in that moment, but through constantly moving deeper to the Lord by faith and confident hope as we learn to trust Him more. It is in the relationship. Complacency is the pride of life that tells us well I am better than I was or better than that guy or girl. Comparison breeds complacency as it feeds our pride and breeds discontentment in our life so rather than running the race of faith, we stand on the sideline with other sinners.
“…Or join in with mockers…” Complacency leads to compromise as we decide the Will of God for our own life rather than waiting for the Lord to finish His Work in us. God has promised to give us greater joy than the “things” of this world. (Psalm 4:6-8) But some people don’t believe Him and accept sloppy seconds and subtle substitutions. The choice was given to us as part of the freedom given to us by the Cross. Jesus took our life back from death and handed it back to us to do with it as we choose. God is good. He desires to fill our life with joy. If we do not live in constant and inexpressible joy – it is our own fault. God has given us everything we need to have it.
Isaiah 55:11-13 (NLT)
“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”
It is clear in the Word of God that He deeply desires for us His Children to have a life filled with joy and peace. Abundant joy that is in all times not sometimes. I want that kind of joy. I have seen so many glimpses of it in my life just enough to know I want it all the time in every season with every breath. It is totally up to me if I have it because once God says it, it cannot help but produce fruit. I must ready the field.
“But those who delight in the Law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night…” This is not for all the religious people doing because they think it is required. This is about truly loving God and seeking Him with all our heart and soul because we love Him and cannot live without Him. Joy is a commitment of faith and confident hope to the Joy Maker in our life without reservation, fear or doubt knowing that His Word says, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love (Him) and are called to His Purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) It tells us in Psalm 30:12 that He will take those hard times and bad times turning our mourning into dancing and sorrow into joy. It is nonrealistic and unbiblical to think you will not go through things in life. But His Word promises that He is going to make good out of it – if we persevere and endure to the end. His Joy will be our Strength. When we plant in tears, we will harvest in joy. (Psalm 126:5-6) The Lord has promised us that no matter what we face His Goodness is coming so we can rejoice even when chaos hits and our natural existence falls apart just because His Goodness, Grace, Mercy and Unfailing Love are pursing us and soon to overtake if we just hang on. We can laugh through our tears. Find peace in those most challenging circumstances and seemingly hopeless situations because the Lord is with us and keeping His Promise that joy is coming in the morning.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
When Jesus looked at the Cross, He didn’t see the wood, nails, torture or blood. He saw you. He saw me. We are the joy awaiting Him. He endured the Cross, disregarded the shame and now sits on the Throne of God interceding for us because we are His Joy. Think about that for a minute. Who else can say that about you? Who gives you endless grace, mercy and love no matter what you do, how far you fall or how bad you mess up? Nobody but Jesus. He wants you to be filled with abundant joy that flows from the Source of Life. He wants you to blossom and bloom in every season producing a harvest of love that can be shared with the world even when tragedy strikes or worlds fall apart that can tell others of His Unfailing Love sharing a smile backed by faith and confident hope. Can you do that today? Does your heart and mind agree with Habakkuk when he says, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18) Natural sources of happiness are drying up, our world is in turmoil, but we can live in joy and peace when we set our heart and mind on Jesus. Using common sense, avoiding complacency and compromise by making a commitment in our heart and mind to love the Lord above all others. Trusting that His Word is true and He is good intent on filling us with the joy and peace to fill each day ahead. We will be like trees “planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Lord, let that be me today and every day. Joy belongs to me and it is clear that you want me to have it so I will receive it today in the Name of Jesus!
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT) Always be joyful.
Philippians 4:4 (NLT) Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Colossians 1:11-12 (NLT)
We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.