We all want joy. Joy, happiness, whatever we call it - we all want those pleasant emotions and that feeling of glad satisfaction. We not only all want it - we all seek it. Most of what we do all day every day is an attempt on some level to reach this goal. To replace the feelings of sadness, disappointment, fear, rejection, insecurity, loneliness, with more desirable ones. Gladness. Security. Acceptance. Contentment. JOY.
Yes, we all want it.
The great news is that we don't have to feel guilty about wanting to be happy!
Because that's what God wants, too!
In fact, He commands us several times to be joyful! One such occurrence in Scripture is Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice!
Why does He tell us that?
In no way do I suggest that I know all His reasons but I can find some answers in His Word. I have at least three of the reasons He commands us to be joyful. And I have some insight into how we can be joyful. But before I share those reasons, let me first be perfectly clear. YES God wants us to be happy.
NOT by selfish, destructive, sinful ways.
It's very important that we get that part straight.
Now for the reasons why we should be joyful:
1. JOY strengthens us Seriously, being joyful is strengthening to us. That's what Nehemiah 8:10 (Do not be grieved for the joy of the Lord is your strength) means. Sadness, discouragement, despair - these drain us of strength. But when we have joy in the Lord, we are energized, stable, strong.
2. JOY secures us That is what Philippians 3:1 teaches us - Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same thing again is no trouble to me and it is a safeguard for you. A safeguard. Being joyful in Christ protects me - keeps me safe! Safe from what? From trying to find joy in anything else! When I full of the joy of Jesus, I am not tempted to find it in something that cannot bring lasting joy. Something that will instead result in grief and disappointment. Or even destruction. Rejoicing in the Lord secures me.
3. JOY splashes on others We must not underestimate this benefit of joy. Our joy - or lack of it! - has a definite impact on those around us. In Philippians 2:17,18, Paul conveys this truth: But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you, too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me. Joy is not meant to be hoarded but rather to be shared! Joy is one of, if not THE, greatest evangelicals tools we have. When others see our joy, they are going to want some, too! And it is also one of the greatest sources of encouragement in the church. Our brothers and sisters in Christ need for us to be joyful. We all benefit. Not that we can't or shouldn't ever grieve. That is not true at all. But even in the midst of grief and difficulties, it is possible to still have JOY IN THE LORD.
Joy in the Lord. Gladness of Who He is and what He has done for us. What He is doing in us. And what He will do in the future. Satisfaction in Christ. Contentment with His plans and purposes for our lives. Rejoicing. In Him. Always.
Over the next few days, we will explore some more truths about JOY.
Including some reasons why we might not have it.
Stay tuned :)