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JOY


Joy is only a three-letter word and yet it speaks volumes. The Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the christian’s joy, and He is the perfect example of joy Himself. Consider what the Bible says concerning His imminent death on the cross. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Joy means a "good feeling of great pleasure and delight" irrespective of the outcome or circumstances. There is a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is conditional in that it responds to circumstance. In other words, when things are working in my favor, I’m happy. However, when the opposite occurs, then I will not be happy.

The Biblical text says, “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds.” Here is the reason. “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Also, the Apostle Peter writes, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange was happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13). It is clear in these two passages that having joy is most essential in living the christian life. Why then would the scripture exhort christians to "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Note, it is God's will for us to rejoice always, irrespective of the circumstances.

The Apostle Paul was a man filled with so much joy in living and serving God and he never failed to express his joy in various situations. As he bid farewell to the Ephesians Elders, he told them, “I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me nor do I count my life dear to myself so that I may finish my race with joy” (Acts 20:22-24). This man was so devoted in his love and service for the Lord that nothing could deter because he wanted to “finish my race with joy.” Being obedient to God will certainly bring about the greatest joy and satisfaction in our lives.

King David had sinned against God and when he was confronted by the prophet Nathan, he acknowledged his sin, and asked God to “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12). Oh, the joy that salvation brings to the believer in Jesus Christ. No wonder Peter writes, “Though you have not seen Him, you love him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Peter 1:8). This is real joy - “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”

Joy can be found in all aspects of the christian life and service. To name a few, there is the joy of christian fellowship, joy of giving, joy of praying, joy of reading/studying God’s word, joy of witnessing, joy of godly living, joy of going to church, joy of worshipping and serving God, joy of giving thanks to God, joy of forgiveness, joy of helping others, and many more. Let joy be unconfined.

Interestingly, Jude concludes his epistle this way. "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only wise God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever, Amen" (Jude 24-25).

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