The word of God has a lot to say about joy. It is such an important part of our walk with the Lord. The world’s version of joy usually relates to good “happenings“, but the joy of the Lord is independent of circumstances. Nehemiah 8:10 declares “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The scriptures are full of records of men who accessed the joy of the Lord in affliction. Consider the account of Paul and Silas in the prison cell, backs bleeding from beatings, feet held in stocks and yet, at midnight, they were praying, singing and praising God, (Acts 16). Their joy was definitely not in their circumstances but in their fellowship with the Lord in the middle of their affliction. “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” – this is a supernatural strength to endure any circumstance.
Let us take a deeper look at some things. Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” “…joy and peace in believing”, believing what? – Believing that the Lord, the God of all hope, is in control, in spite of my circumstances and my fellowship with Him in the affliction releases His joy and His peace which “passes my understanding.” They are supernatural, sourced in Him. As I rest in the finished work of Calvary, trusting the Lord with the unknown, casting down vain imaginations of fear and doubt, then I am on a firm foundation, the solid Rock of Christ. It is here I find the joy and peace of fellowship with the Lord. The world cannot give it, nor remove it but I am responsible to keep it as the gatekeeper of my heart. As I trust the Lord with all of my heart and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5),the God of all hope, births His hope in me. Hope is the journey in to right believing which will bring us to faith in God.
Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Jesus came as our Messiah, the Promise of the Father and He is now our Living Hope and is the Tree of Life to us. Everything we need is sourced in Him, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells. His eternal words echo down the corridors of time, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28. Our problems arise when we do not adhere to this simple command and try and work things out according to our natural understanding. Proverbs 16:25 warns us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
WHEN I DON’T CONSULT GOD, I INSULT HIM!
James 1 encourages us to “…count it all joy” as we embrace the trial of our faith.
The apostle, Paul, knew that in the course of him ministering the gospel he would meet bonds and afflictions along the way, but he said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with JOY,….. Acts 20:24. I may never suffer the afflictions Paul went through, but when I am facing trials, have I discovered joy and peace of God in the fellowship of affliction? When I embrace my wilderness in God, He causes me to sing there.
1 John 1:3-4 “….that you also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. We write these things to you, that your joy may be full.” Intimacy with the Lord produces the joy of His presence.
Let us thank our Heavenly Father for His joy in our lives today. He enables and equips us to travel our individual passages, but He has promised joy for the journey. Psalm 16:11 “You will show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Proverbs 12:20 “Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.” May we be counsellors of His peace and joy-givers to our fellow men.