1 April 2014 by Mindy Oon CM –
As Christians we often hear the word ‘Joy’. We are told that we should be ‘Joyful’ because we have Jesus, and we sing songs about it, so much so that we even feel guilty when we feel sad. So what really is Joy, and how do we have God’s joy?
Pastor Matthew Dass spoke about having God’s Joy during FGA Ipoh’s young adult service on Saturday night. Joy is the second fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galations Chapter 5. It is therefore the product of the Holy Spirit’s cultivation of character in a believer’s heart. The Greek word in the Bible for joy is ‘Chara’ and joy is the natural reaction to the work of God. Romans 14:17 tells us that ‘the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’.
The Spirit’s production of joy can be seen in several ways. First there is the joy of deliverance. When God sets someone free, rejoicing is in order. For example, Hannah was filled with joy at her deliverance from her enemies (1 Samuel 2:1) and the servant girl was so overjoyed that God had rescued Peter from prison that she forgot to let Peter in the house (Acts 12:14). Then there is the joy of salvation. One of the greatest reasons for us to be joyful is the fact that God has saved us and wants to spend eternity with us. Luke 15:7 says ‘I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents that over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance’. Thirdly, the joy of spiritual maturity. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us to bear more fruit, we become confident in God’s promises and rejoice in our walk with Him and with other believers. John 15:11 says “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full”. Fourth, there is joy in God’s presence. The Holy Spirit draws us to God, in whose presence we can know true joy – ‘You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand’ (Psalms 16:11).
Possessing joy is a choice.
We can choose whether we want to value God’s presence, promises and work in our lives. Romans 15:13 tells us that when we yield to the Spirit, He will open our eyes to God’s grace around us and fill us up with joy; and 1 John 1:4 tells us that joy cannot be found in a fallen world. It is only through fellowship with God that we can make our joy complete.
Consider it joy!
James 1:2-4 says ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.’
It may sound ridiculous to consider it joy when we are going through hard times. However, when we go deeper into the word, the phrase ‘consider it’ also means ‘to govern or to lead’. James is trying to tell us that in the midst of trials, let joy govern you and lead you. It is not about being happy about your problems, but instead, allowing yourself to be led by Joy and when we do this, we will grow in faith and perseverance. It can be difficult to go through trials, but when we let Joy govern us and lead us in a trial
The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength!
Nehemiah 8:10 says ‘Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The word of God also tells that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. God can and will give us the strength to go through what life throws at us.
God wants us to be strong and the enemy wants the exact opposite. John 10:10 says that ‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.’ Indeed, Satan wants to distract us from the life that God has for us. Thus we must not put our focus on what the enemy is doing. Instead, we need to make sure that we do not take off our focus on God and what He has promised!
We may be going day to day feeling weak and having no strength. We may be lacking joy and we may be allowing Satan to steal our joy. But know this – when we wait upon the Lord, we renew our strength, and in His presence, there is fullness of Joy. if our joy can be full, then it can also be empty, or half empty. We need to make a choice to live lives that is overflowing with God’s joy.
While God desires that we have sorrow and remorse that brings us to repentance as it is beneficial if it causes us to humble ourselves, confess our sins, seek his forgiveness and motivate us to make the decision to change our ways, excessive sorrow or despair can be counter-productive.
It is destructive when we continue to feel grief and sorry after we have been convicted of our sins, after we have confessed them to God, after we have sought forgiveness and made the commitment to change. After confession and forgiveness, God wants to replace the grief and sorrow with holy gladness and joy! The strength we need to live a godly life comes not from excessive sorrow or despair, but from our joy in the Lord. This is because despair does not promote growth, and it does not promote thanksgiving, praise and worship. It does not know victory, and it does not promote transformation. Joy, however, is the power that produces successful, victorious, fruit-bearing Christians. We need to make the choice to wait upon God and have joy overflow in our lives!
References for pictures