Read: Philippians 4:4 |
John Newton, the writer of the most popular hymn in history, “Amazing Grace” said: “… if two angels in heaven were given assignments by God at the same time, one of them to go and rule over the greatest nation on earth and the other to go sweep the streets of the dirtiest village, each angel would be completely indifferent as to which one got which assignment.
It simply wouldn’t matter to them. Why? Because the real joy lies in being obedient to God. For a believer, the important thing isn’t what God has us doing; the important thing is that we’re doing what God wants us to do.”
Joy is the last of the key motivators for serving God that we will cover in this study. Whereas earthly joy for a new phone or job is physical and temporal, a believer’s joy is spiritual and eternal. As a Believer, our joy comes when we accept Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit. We become full of joy or joyful as our hearts follow His plans for our lives and we abide in Him. Our joy does not rest on our being perfect, but rather on perfecting our faith as we walk with Him day by day.
Joy – A Believers delightful duty
Who but a loving God, would think to command us to be joyful and rejoice. It is our delightful duty to:
• Be filled with joy
• Exhibit joy as a Fruit of the Spirit
• Have a joyful heart
• Have joy in the Holy Spirit
• Go in joy
• Show ourselves approved to complete our joy
• Receive strength because of our Joy
• Make joyful noise for Him
• Allow the Word to become a joy to us
• Exult in the joy of Lord
• Shout / Sing for joy
• Enter into joy
• Rejoice in hope
• Rejoice always
• Rejoice with joy
• Rejoice in each day
Note: See Scriptural references at the bottom of posting.
Joy puts us in the mood to serve God.
When we have the joy of the Lord in our hearts, we are more loving, unselfish, sacrificial and generous. In fact, we are called not only to “rejoice”, but Paul doubles down on this in Philippians 4 when he repeats it and says “again I say rejoice”.
On the other hand, an unjoyful believer is ill prepared to let Christ’s light shine because his joy is drained and they are distracted. The remedy is to rekindle our fellowship with Christ, for He is the eternal fountain of joy.
An unknown author wrote that, “Joy is the greatest paradox of life. It can grow in any soil, and live under any conditions. It defies environment. It comes from within; it is the revelation of the depths of the inner life—as light and heat proclaim the sun from which they radiate. Joy consists not of having—but of being; not of possessing—but of enjoying. It is the warm glow of a heart at peace with itself.”
King David certainly knew this joy. The psalms are full of rejoicing and gladness in the Lord. Enoch experienced joy just walking with God; The angels were joyous at the birth of Christ; Mary felt it sitting at Jesus’ feet. We too are called to experience this joy by acknowledging and serving God.
Joy trumps Happiness
It is important that we do not confuse joy with happiness. Happiness is the fruit of prosperous happenings in our lives. Whereas, joy is independent of circumstances. Happiness sings when our lives are sunny and stops when rain falls in our lives. Joy sings during the sun and the rain because Christ is the source of our joy, not our happenings.
As things happen in our lives and thus bring us challenges and afflictions, our joy can be temporarily depleted. [2 Cor 1:4] God will comfort our affliction and walk with us through the experience. After the appropriate amount of time, we are to once again rejoice in the Lord.
For some who have suffered more than most, I know this can sound simple and cavalier. But letting go and letting God in is not easy. After all, Satan wants to steal our joy by causing us to focus on the physical and temporal. Only when we look to God, can we enter into the joy of the Lord and allow Him to be our strength because joy trumps happiness!
After all, why live in our unhappiness when the God of Hope is in us.
If the Lord is your joy, then your joy will never dry up.
If He is not your joy, then make Him your joy. In fact, make Him all of your joy. Let the joy of the Lord, be your strength. [Nehemiah 8:10] [Modified quote from Charles Spurgeon]
Series Outline with links:
1. Reward – Serve Him for the reward of His fellowship and presence in your life
2. Fear – Serve Him with a reverent fear and respect for His power, presence and protection
3. Duty – Serve Him dutifully; we are called to serve Him
4. Love – Serve with all your heart, soul and mind
5. Joy – Serve Him joyfully; the joy of the Lord is our strength
1. Temptation and Sin – Cannot serve Him because I’m not “holy” enough
2. Burn-out Part 1 – Cannot serve Him because I’ve lost motivation and energy
3. Burn-out Part 2 – Cannot serve Him because I need to refuel and reload
4. Rationalization – Future – Cannot serve Him because I don’t have the time, talent, treasure necessary
5. Procrastination – Future – Cannot serve Him because I’m not able to find the right opportunity and follow through
1. Discover –
A. A joyous believer is a happy believer who cheerfully serves God in a continuously thankful manner. Does this statement describe you?
B. If your joy had a drain plug at the bottom, what are things that pull the drain plug and empty your joy?
2. Develop –
A. Confession – I had a challenge writing this posting and being whipped at the same time because I do not exhibit my joyfulness. Can you help a brother out and share how you are able to develop a habit of being more joyous?
B. For the things that cause you to lose your joy, what can you do to prevent them from draining your joy?
3. Demonstrate –
A. When you replay all of the God’s blessings in your life does is produce a joy in your heart that others can see?
B. Joy is a daily provision. We could have been joyful over something yesterday, but today is a new day. How do you demonstrate daily joy in the Lord? Would your spouse or prayer partner say that you are joyful?
Partial Scriptural References to Joy:
Ps. 5:11; 9:2; 32:11; 30:5 33:1; 40:16; 100:1; Eccl 8:15; Prov. 17:22; Is 12:1-6; 29:19; 55:12; Neh. 8:10; Jer. 15:16; Ezra 6:22; Hab. 3:17-19; Eccl 8:15
Phil. 3:1; 4:4; Rom. 12:12; 14:17; 15:13; James 1:2-4; Gal. 5:22, John 16:24; I Pet 1:8; I Thess. 1:6; 5:16, I John 1:4; Acts 13:52; Jude 1:24; 2 Cor 8:2; Matt. 2:10; 25:1; Heb. 12:2