"But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.”
C.S. Lewis referred to joy as “the serious business of Heaven." And, I assure you, I, too, take it very seriously! Not the forced, inane humor we often see portrayed in the media, or the artificial, chemically induced euphoria that passes for having a good time. No, what I'm talking about is that internal ambiance of well-being that defies both the law of gravity and the law of inertia: staying up when it ought to be sinking; and not dependent on any artificial push!
I once likened real joy to a pilot light inside us. It may only "flame up" from time to time, but it always gives off a steady, warm glow. The lost, who live with impending doom (whether they acknowledge it or not) will always have to find a substitute for joy. And sadly, carnal, half-hearted Christians usually leave the Holy Spirit on the "back-burner" of their lives and then wonder why they end up cold and joyless. Amy Carmichael said, "I often think how sad we shall be at the end, if we have failed in joy." Here are a few thoughts on this important subject, lest you or I fail in joy.
1. There is a definitive and definable source of joy. Isaiah 35:10 tells us that "the ransomed of the Lord...will obtain joy..."; and in Psalm 16:11 David tells God, "[I]n thy presence is fullness of joy.” Galatians 5 names joy as part of the cluster in the fruit of the Spirit; and this is visualized for us in Luke 1 where John, yet unborn, leaps for joy in Elizabeth's womb after she is filled with the Holy Ghost. Need I name for you, then, the Source of Joy?
2. Although at times joy may be "unspeakable" (I Pet. 1:8), it cannot be hidden indefinitely. The story in Luke one again proves this, for, not only did John leap for joy, it says of Elizabeth that she "spake with a loud voice." Real, deep-seated joy cannot always be held down or kept quiet.
3. Heavenly joy is constant, even under fire. Paul praised the churches of Macedonia, in 2 Corinthians 8:2, noting both their "great trial of affliction," and at the same time, their "abundance of…joy." He gives it a paradoxical twist is chapter 6 of the same book: ("As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing…").
4. Lastly, here are some "joy-robbers" the Bible warns us about:
· Sin (Psalm 51)
· Neglect of the Word (Jeremiah 15:16)
· Failure to worship (Luke 24:52)
· Lack of abiding in Him (John 15:11)
· Disregard of Christian Fellowship (2 Tim. 1:4; 1 John 1:3,4;
2 John 12
I should point out there are also people around us who, I must say, fit into the "joy-robber" category. They'll move heaven and earth, seemingly, to keep us from experiencing the abundant life God has planned for us. Avoid them like the plague! Since the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh.8:10), they will soon sap you of all your spiritual vigor.
Now, take these truths and incorporate them into your life; and then, as I often say,
“Don't forget to enJOY the Lord!”