Most of my reading and preaching this month has been about Joy. I just completed a three part Christmas Series on Joy at my Church. And you can discover how to increase your joy here. In this post, I want to, at least try to answer the question – “What is Joy?”
I made a statement during one of my sermons about joy that left a lot of questions. I could hear the murmuring in the congregation while I tried to explained what I meant. Let me share it with you and you can leave a note about your feelings or thoughts about it:
Joy is not affected by afflictions; it’s only affected by sin. Sin decreases joy; affliction increases it.
I believe joy is …
An indestructible Assurance in who God is and everything He promised. This includes the following:
The assurance of his covenant relationship with each and everyone of us.
The assurance that comes from the joy of His salvation within us.
That he is able to save to the uttermost.
That he will never leave us nor forsake us.
That he will make high places low, crooked places straight, rough places smoothed, empty places full in our lives.
That he no longer counts our sins against us.
That our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
That we are his and he is ours.
That we have found a friend more intimate than others.
That nothing can separate us from his love.
That he is for us – so who dare stands against us.
That we have been given grace to enter his joy and dwell there with him for eternity.
Joy must first be distinguished from happiness. Happiness is temporary – Joy is eternal. Happiness is based on what’s happening – in fact happiness comes from the word happen. When things are going great people are happy, when it is not, happiness is gone. Joy is constant it is always there in good times and bad times.
Joy is not the absence of tears as courage is not the absence of fear.
Jesus wept! He was a man of many sorrows. “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). Both Gethsemane and Golgotha were agonizing and the grave was cold – yet he possessed the “Spirit without measure.” (John 3:35).
Paul had a thorn in his flesh. He was also in a Roman dungeon. He writes, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Yet, he continues, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. Because we have this TREASURE in jars of clay.” 2 Corinthians 4:1:16, 7
John the Beloved was half cooked in boiling oil, left for dead. Well, when he escaped death, they ostracized him to the Island of Patmos. Yet, John writes, “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus… And “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. I am inclined to believe that this is just how it was everyday for John. See Revelation 4:2;17:3;21:10.
Joy that was with the Father; that is of the Father – was brought out of eternity into time in the person of Jesus Christ. This joy entered into the heart of the believer through faith. And this joy defies all odds:
I will not be troubled when others are troubled
I will not give up when others are giving up
I will not be shaken when others are being shaken
I will not fail when others are failing
I will stand where others fall
I will conquer where others are conquered
I will win where others lose
I will prevail where others succumb
That’s what joy is and that’s what joy promises.
Allow me to leave four joyful promises to take you into the new year:
A victor’s shout
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.” (Psalm 27:6)
You are not a victim, you are a victor. Pity Parties need to stop. Excuses need to cease. I understand you had a tough upbringing, but stop allowing daddy issues from your past to continue robbing you of your joy. Let go of your love for misery, say your goodbyes. It’s time to get hitched with joy and allow it to sweep you off your feet.
A mark of great strength
“…Do not mourn or weep… For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:9, 10)
Make joy a lifestyle. Pursue joy with everything within you. It makes sense for all practical reasons. For a “joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22).
An oil of gladness
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie-just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:27). God has anointed you. He has set you apart to experience His joy in deeper and richer ways.
A garment of praise
Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.” (Psalm 33:1). It is also kind of sinful not to be joyful – because God commends for you to be joyful. A spirit of fainting looks horrible you. You were not made to wear that kind of clothing. The word “befits” means – praise looks good on you. It is this kind that releases joy in our lives.
May He fill you with everlasting joy every day in 2015. “They shall have everlasting joy.” Isaiah 61:7
Happy New Year Everyone!