This quote is a great way to start this week's lesson in joy.
"Joy is a condition of the soul, and that condition is fully capable of being immune to circumstances. Happiness is temporary, joy is its own missionary to a fallen world because few have it, and yet mistake happiness for the real thing - joy. When happiness has faded, joy still has a voice. Joy is a choice. Joy is a mindset. Joy is a world view." The Minute Man
Last time we discussed "Good and Upright", the understanding of joy. This week we'll discuss, as the title asks, Where does our joy come from?
I like the quote because as it says, "When happiness fades, joy still has a voice, joy is a choice, a mindset and a world view." So then, where does our joy come from?
Here's what Matthew Henry, famous commentator of scripture, says:
"The matter of a Christian's joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this signifies its purity and perfection. And it does not fade; is not sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like itself. God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto glory. Every believer has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and conduct."I remember the benediction my youth group used to pray at every meeting, found in Numbers 6:24-26,
24 "The LORD bless you and keep you;
25 The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace."'
That being said leads me right to more of God's word:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
It took me a long time to make the connection between joy, happiness and salvation. Maybe there's others who haven't made the connection either.
If I'm understanding this correctly; our joy comes from our salvation. Living out Christ's gift to us will imply that we're full of joy. Psalm 21:1 says:
1 The king shall have joy in Your strength, O LORD;
And in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
As well as Psalm 35:9:
9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD;
It shall rejoice in His salvation.
Even through our sorrow and trials we should be rejoicing in our salvation. God's words says:
1 Peter 1:6-9
6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 4:12-14
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
No matter what's happening around you or even to you, express joy that is from the God of your salvation. You'd be a great example to unbelievers to the love of God. As John 16:22 tells us: no one can take your joy away that is from God.
However, because of things that had happened in my life I allowed others to take my joy because I wasn't focused on God even though God's joy was still there. When we lose sight of God and His Word in our lives the adversary sneaks in and takes over. God is still there. He's trying for all His might to get our attention. God got my attention in 2009. He started a work in me that was unmistakably His. When everything was at the bottom the only way was up. God reached His Almighty hand in and offered it to me. I accepted it of course. At the same time some other miraculous things took place that made it unmistakable that it was God pulling me and my husband from the mire. Did God take it all away and make everything perfect for us? No. He left us at the doorway and offered us the choice to follow Him. We still have adversities. Here's what Habakkuk 3:17-19 says:
17 Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
There's this one girl at my church. Her name is Abi and at the time of this situation she was 12 yrs old. In 2008 when her family came home on furlough from the mission field they had no idea what they were in for. Abi contracted the flesh eating bacteria on one side of her face. She's since been through treatment to stop it. She's also been through many surgeries. Here's a quote from her:
"My surgeon can't figure me out, my teacher wants to clone me, Lydia and I are back in school, my scar is my name tag at every church I visit, my hair has been cut, my writing is going well, my dad still makes me cry (in a good, special way), and my Christmas was wonderful. Yet, more important than all these things that... bring me happiness I have THE POWERFUL, WONDERFUL, ALL-KNOWING, EVER-CARING GOD who gives me JOY!"That is one powerful statement. This girl, Abi, has been such a great example of the joy from God. She's an inspiration to us all.
Here's what Billy Graham says:
The choice is ours. I've made the choice to be joyful and rejoice in my salvation from the LORD. Have you? Where does your joy come from? Is it fleeting? Or, is it firm and stable? Join me today & everyday and be joyful, rejoicing in the LORD.