We read a lot about joy in the Bible. Almost every book says something about it. The devil wants us to be miserable. The world would have us think that becoming a Christian is the worst mistake we could ever make. There’s really no reason not to have joy in our heart. We can find reasons to make excuses for not having it: it’s a bad place to work; the problems I’m having are weighing me down. However, the result of the work of salvation is joy. Having been beaten black and blue by the world, you hurt, but the devil can’t steal the joy of your salvation.
If anyone had reason for not having joy it would have been Paul and Peter. Both were imprisoned. They were both sentenced to death—Paul to be beheaded and Peter crucified. If they could be happy we ought to be able to do it too. Yet we say ‘poor, old, pitiful me; I’m a Christian.’ Keep the joy! The first three fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, and peace. Love God. Love the Word and the church. It even makes us love our enemies. God doesn’t want us to be secretly happy. Let the joy come through!
I Peter 1:1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Just about everywhere we read in the Bible we’re tempted to say this is the best scripture ever. We know the times. We’re watching the world cruise along. It’s not the time to give up, get discouraged, or question God. It’s time to lift up our heads and rejoice. Get a fill up of joy. If we go to the gas pump and just sit there, it will do no good. We have to open the tank and put the gas in. We need a full tank and God gives it. We have a connection with God. He has an unlimited supply of what keeps us going. If your tank goes empty it’s not God’s fault. We have to put on Christ. We take him into our heart and he puts us into his. Each day—morning, noon and night–we should praise the Lord. What if God neglected us like we do him? We’d miss him.
It is now years after Pentecost. Peter knew Paul was in prison too. Even in jail, Peter said to stop and count the blessings. Keep going on. I can’t put joy in your heart. You have to do that. You have a choice. You can let the devil get to you. You can be beat down OR you can rejoice. For each thing we have to complain about there are a dozen things to rejoice about. The devil is real. He can put a lot of misery on each of us. In the Bible we’re amazed that the more the apostles were beaten, the more they rejoiced. I’ve never been wounded for being a Christian. Jesus told the disciples to share with others what he had given them. When the troubles come, still rejoice. Your joy can be full. I’m not sure my joy gage has been full, but there is a fountain in heaven that is bottomless. We’ve never been as close to the Lord as we can be. We’re prone to look at the bad things and ask ‘why, why, why?’ We sound like a bunch of kids sometimes. The Bible tells us to be joyful. That doesn’t mean life is trouble free. We shouldn’t live immersed in this world. God will make a way for us to have joy unspeakable and full of glory. We cannot make that conditional by telling the Lord if you do this, I’ll do this.
We’ve all have problems but let’s enjoy our salvation. If we’re not doing and living like we should, get a fresh connection and nothing can stand in our way. We might struggle with the outward, physical but there is no reason to not have joy. Got it? Use it! Never be ashamed of the joy down in your heart. Rejoice.
If your joy juice has run out, wrap yourself around the Savior and you will find joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.