Joy, joy, joy! Such an incredibly complicated emotional state of mind! Yet we find it all over the Word of God. Whether we are thriving in the heights of prosperity, favour and success, or drowning in deep sickness, suffering or failure, we are to remain steadfast in, not only our faith but also, our JOY! When we read 1Peter1:8-9, Peter describes how because of our faith in Jesus Christ we are – not should – filled with joy that is inexpressible and glorious! But what really is this joy? And what does it really mean to have it? Why is it so important? This is what we meditated on, today, Day 18 of our fast.
In our pursuit of God’s glory, as we fervently ask, seek and knock for him, we need to check the condition of our hearts. It’s not enough to just begrudgingly follow Jesus robotically. We are God’s children and He loves us. His will for us is to be joyous about everything we do and go through for him, because, like Peter says, our reward is the salvation of our souls. That in and of itself, brings glory to God!
We are constantly losing ourselves to God, He is emptying us of the pointless pursuit of momentary pleasures and doing ‘whatever makes us happy’. He knows that happiness, unlike joy, is momentary and unreliable. What He has for us is far beyond what we could ever imagine or even ask for. His Joy for us is not unlike the treasures stored up in heaven – it is limitless, divine, supernatural and everlasting. It is not unlike that peace that surpasses understanding. It is not unlike that love that covers a multitude of sins. Joy is that constant hope, faith, contentment, steadfastness and complete satisfaction that God has us right where He wants us – and that’s the best place to be.
We are gradually learning to change our perspective and understand that we are His beloved, chosen by Him, before the dawn of time, in order to do His glorious will on earth as it is in Heaven. Therefore, in front of this great cloud of witnesses, we are not to shrink back into our shells of suffering or walk around as empty shells of pompous pride. But we are to live joyously in the adventure of discovering our destiny, hand-in-hand with the Creator of Heaven and Earth. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, neither is it just darkness and thorns – but it’s a glorious and holy combination of both!
Whether you are like Joseph – called out of slavery into royalty – or like Nehemiah – called out of luxury into the ruins (literally) – you are to “…not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV). This is not like any old joy or happiness or good feeling, this is not God’s joy FOR you or ABOUT you…this is Joy that BELONGS to God, that is FROM God and OF God – like that Designer item you bought from a famous label because you trust it more than the others – this Joy has God’s seal of quality assurance on it! It is guaranteed to make a difference in your life. Go on and try it out. What have you got to lose? You’ve tried everything and it just seems like God is not ‘giving you what you want’. How about asking Him for some Joy? His joy. Whatever you ask Him, in His name, will be granted to you! But you have to ask the right questions, make the right requests…search for the right treasure…for wherever your treasure is, your heart will be also…so get your heart in order!! Rejoice in the Lord always! And I say it again, REJOICE!