To rejoice is a choice. A joyful spirit puts a spring in your step! The joy that comes from knowing God is a deep lasting joy, a feeling of being really secure and cared for. It’s a supernatural joy that’s imputed to us through the Holy Spirit. It’s a gift to those who have been made righteous in Him.
Joy is constant, long-lasting, and it satisfies, unlike happiness which is dependent upon circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with happiness, I wrote a blog on 20 Ways to Find More Happiness in Your Life, but joy is different. You can have many sorrows, yet still, have joy. ‘Joy even intensifies in times of suffering’ (Dr. Adrian Rogers).
Sorrow does not have to stop us from going to church, praying, or praising God. The apostle Paul and Silas were singing praises to God in prison. In addition, when addressing the Thessalonians, Paul said, ‘you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirt. God will always comfort those who mourn, so come to Him when you are sorrowful and He will give you His joy.
“The Joy of The Lord is Your Strength” – Nehemiah 8:10
Why is the Joy of the Lord Our Strength?
The joy of the Lord is our strength because we are no longer dependent on the world for our satisfaction. We have passed through this need and moved on to the glorious pleasures of the spiritual life.
The soul that hungers for God cannot be satisfied with earthly things. According to Charles Spurgeon, ‘children of God do not find their joy in wine, feasts, or riches as these things don’t satisfy the noble soul.’ True believers long for something more fulfilling and long-lasting. This kind of deep, abiding joy can only be found through communion with Christ Jesus.
The Christian who experiences this joy in The Lord does not envy the rich. They are poor in spirit but have found pleasures forevermore in God Himself.
“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” (Psalm 4:7, English Standard Version)
The joy of the Christian is in knowing that we are forgiven. This sets us free from all guilt and shame. A clear conscience brings lightness to the soul, therefore fellowship with God. When you are reconciled to God, you have new hope that leads to abundant joy.
How To Have Fullness of Joy
Repentance: The first step is to be born again. Sin will always separate us from God. The sinner needs to repent of their sins and be washed clean before they can receive this deep inner joy that comes from God. When they are forgiven; cleansed of all unrighteousness, they begin to blossom.
You were walking in darkness, but it wasn’t until you saw the radiant light of Christ that you knew why you felt so miserable. Life without God is miserable and meaningless. God comforts those who recognize their sinful ways and ask for forgiveness.
“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Sin Robs Us of Our Joy
King David lost the joy of his salvation when he sinned against God by committing adultery with Bathsheba. His prayer of repentance to The Lord was to have his joy restored to him. He did not lose his salvation, he was still saved, but he lost the joy of his salvation.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
What a terrible loss it is to a Christian if they lose their joy, for, without it, the Christian life will be a long hard struggle. The joy of the Lord truly is our strength.
Charles Spurgeon, in his sermon, The Joy of The Lord is Your Strength said, ‘if you have lost your joy, don’t think it a small thing, Christians need to look after their joy. It is something you could lose, and not only through sin, but you could also lose it by the afflictions of the world.
In John 16:33, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Don’t Let Your Troubles Quench Your Joy
Spurgeon also explained that we are not called, just to be saved, but to be saved and happy! Yes, we are to be happy and strong, for he who communes with God is both happy and strong.
He said we need to learn to shake off our dark, melancholic moods; to shake off the lethargy and misery that we often become so familiar with. We all know what it’s like to wallow in self-pity and feel gloomy and downcast. Instead, he said, we are to be in a state of spiritual joy.
So, we are to take care of our joy and not allow the cares of the world or the tricks of the enemy to steal our joy. Rather, pray and walk carefully in the Spirit, rejoicing always!
Our Joy Should be Full
‘And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.’ (1 John 1:4)
Jesus said in John 17:13, ‘but now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.’
You must have joy for you. This is a personal invitation, yes, the whole church needs more joy, but you are responsible for having fullness of joy in your life and maintaining it.
How To Have Fullness of Joy
- Be cleansed of your sin – justified (Romans 5:1-2)
- Fellowship with Christ – the doctrine of Communion.
- Grow in grace – it’s a joy to the Christian to grow in grace, for the spirit has been teaching him.
- Rejoice always – to rejoice is a choice, rejoice in hope! Rejoice that your name is written in heaven.’ (Isaiah 61:3 )
- Commitment to God – surrender to your call.
- Dependence upon God alone – he will not reject you, you can put your trust in Him.
- Trust and obey – when you trust, you will obey and it will bring you joy.
- Pray without ceasing – St Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. ‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:16)
- Abide in the vine – ‘my joy may remain in you and your joy may be full.’ (John 15:11)
The Characteristics of a Joyous Believer
He is a quiet, humble, strong man, not ruffled or disturbed by evil. His heart is fixed on Jesus and he has surrendered his life to God. He is independent of man, not needing the approval of others, and even though many have scorned him, he is fine without them, for his joy comes from the Lord. The Joy of the Lord is his Strength.
Remember, no one can take your joy from you, but you have to take care of it. Sometimes it is difficult to praise God when we are burdened with so many problems or overwhelmed by our own fears and anxieties. Trust in Him, who is your Joy. It is Jesus who is your Joy – Christ in You, the hope of glory.
Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. There are nine fruits of the spirit which I will cover at some point. They are, ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.’ (Galatians 5:22-23)
Joy in the believer is evidence of how real Christ is. It’s a powerful virtue when winning souls, for who wants to follow a gloomy, miserable Christian who doesn’t smile? The joy of the Lord is very attractive to an unbeliever who has no joy.
“Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!”