A dictionary defines joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Based on that definition anyone can have both joy and happiness at times.
But there is a big difference between natural joy and the joy of the Lord.
Our relationship with Christ takes our joy to another level. Jesus becomes the source of our joy while happenings tend to be the source of happiness. But when we are in Christ, we can have joy even when our happenings are not conducive to happiness.
On the other hand, just because we have the joy of the Lord does not mean we are experiencing it as we should. That point is not unique to our joy. It is also true about other things we have in the Lord such as the peace of God and His blessings. All of us are experiencing these benefits of our relationship with the Lord in varying degrees.
What the Bible Says about the Joy of the Lord
Are you experiencing the joy of the Lord in your life? Or does your attitude change like the weather, reacting to the things that are happening in your life? Consider these five things the Bible says about our joy in the Lord:
1. The joy of the Lord is a work of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians, chapter 5 expounds on the fruit of the Spirit. Among other things, the fruit of the Spirit includes joy (Galatians 5:22). Accordingly, only those who are in Christ can experience the joy of the Lord.
2. Jesus wants your joy to be full.
Jesus came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly. “Until now you have asked nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full,” Jesus advised His disciples (John 16:24, NASB).
Jesus spoke those words after the Last Supper and before His apprehension and crucifixion. He knew that soon He would no longer be with His disciples for them to ask Him anything. Rather, they were to pray to the Father in His name to the intent that their joy may be full.
3. An objective of the Lord’s teachings is to make your joy full.
Apostle John reveals two beneficial reasons for the apostles’ writing of their epistles. One is “that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3, KJV).
Two, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (verse 4).
Actually, the two verses above are mutually inclusive. If we live by the teachings of our Lord as recorded in the writings of the apostles, we will have fellowship with God, and through fellowship with God we will have fullness of joy.
4. The joy of the Lord is not a function of your circumstances.
In prison, Paul the apostle wrote to the church at Philippi: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). The key word here is “always.” We don’t rejoice only when things are going well but always.
The word “rejoice” in the verse above is from the same base word for joy (Хαρα, pronounced khar-ah). Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have penned these words if what he was instructing the church to do was not possible. But by way of the joy of the Lord, we can rejoice at all times.
5. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
These words are found in the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:10). They were spoken to encourage the people of God as they began to weep. Those words ring true today. Sorrow and pity parties tend to rob you of our strength. But when you choose to rejoice in the Lord, in spite of your circumstances, the joy of the Lord will be your strength.
If you are a Christian, you have this amazing joy that I address in this post. So as Paul the apostle admonished the church at Philippi, so I say to you, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
Copyright © 2019 by Frank King. All rights reserved.