“Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10)
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Over two thousand years ago the angel announced that God was going to bring great joy to all people through the birth of His Son Jesus Christ. Everyone since then who has accepted Christ into their hearts knows that this promise has been kept.
However, we seldom see this joy in the believer’s life on a daily basis. That genuine joy that was experienced upon salvation often gives way to something less. Many times what we think of as joy today is a cheap imitation of the real thing.
We use words like “humorous” or “funny” when things happen that make us laugh or give us a smile. However, when the “funny things” are over and forgotten the feelings also go away because they too are only temporary.
We use words like “happy” or “glad” to express the way we feel concerning a particular situation but these feelings also fade away.
And then there is real “joy”. Although often misused, the mere word makes us think of something deep and abiding, not lighthearted and temporary. Something once had but now longed for.
“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
This is especially true when we think of the Biblical type of joy that the Bible says only God can create. This is the “fullness of joy” that every true believer experiences when they first step into the presence of God upon salvation.
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” (1Peter 1:8)
The word “glory” in this particular Scripture literally means “honor”.
In these two verses alone we see that this joy from God is a joy which words cannot describe (joy unspeakable), that fills us to the overflowing (fullness of joy), and that receives honor (full of glory).
Sadly to say, not many Christians today receive honor for their joy. On the contrary, Christians are often characterized as stern, grim faced individuals whose worship is like a funeral and whose lives are filled with “woe is me”.
The once indescribable joy that filled our lives to the point where others beheld it and honored God has now faded to a distant memory.
Exactly why did the joy wane when our faith in God continued? How do we retrieve it back? And more importantly, how do we keep it?
In the next few blog posts we will see what the Bible teaches about the joy of the Lord, how we can walk daily in it, and why the devil wants to steal it from us.
To walk daily in real joy will cause us to dwell in the pleasures that are at God’s right hand and live our lives far above the worldly situations that Satan would use to rob our peace and steal our joy.
The world needs to see that there is a way of escape from the evil that is present today. They need to behold the joy of the Lord in us and be drawn unto Him.
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” (Gal. 1:4)