The Source of one’s joy determines the quality of it.
Many of God’s people, at some point in their lives, have had at least one person ask them: “How can you have such joy when there’s so much trouble in your life?” Often when that question is posed to us we find it difficult to respond, because our joy is indeed sourced in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and is supernatural. Just as the “peace which passes all understanding” and the “Love which passes knowledge”, so is this JOY which is the result of the Holy Spirit shedding abroad the Love of God in our hearts (Gal.5:22; Rom.5:5). With the whole world in such a seeming maelstrom of debt, drugs, depression, despair and other unending difficulties, how glorious an opportunity we as God’s ambassadors have to manifest to hurting people the antidote to their misery. But how is it that we experience His joy and are able to express it?
“Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the wonders of His mouth” (1 Chronicles 16:12)
So many times in the Bible we read that the people of God were reminded to remember and to rehearse the faithfulness of God in hearing and responding to their cries for help. In fact, when they didn’t “remember His marvelous works” they simply found themselves in more trouble, as we see in Psalm 107, where the psalmist pleads with all who have witnessed His faithfulness to “give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (vv 1, 8, 15, 21, 31) But King David was one who so trusted in the Character, Nature and Faithfulness of God, that even before he experienced His deliverance from trouble, he rejoiced in the Lord knowing the He would indeed deliver in due time. We get a glimpse of this habit of David’s in Psalm 63 where he expressed great joy in his fellowship with God.
“Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” (Psalm 63:7)David's mindset was that God is faithful Who had delivered him from enemies in the past, and He Who never changes will deliver him in his present troubles as well. Click To Tweet
In verse one of Psalm 63, David is seeking God in the wilderness, longing for Him. Then before there is any breakthrough in his trouble, he remembers what the Lord is like and praises Him for His lovingkindness (v.3). He goes on, in verse four, to declare by faith what the result of his trust in God’s help will be: “My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” Finally, the king knows that his enemies will be dealt with by the Lord, in His way and in His time, but as for him, he will rejoice in the Lord and shall glory in Him (vv 9-11). David’s mindset – or “heartset”, we could say – was that God is faithful Who had delivered him from enemies in the past, and He Who is always the same and never changes will deliver him in his present troubles as well. So by faith, the king rejoiced, believing that he already had the petition he’d asked of the Lord (I John 5:14,15) without seeing it yet!
Joy comes from believing and from the experience of our faith.
David, we could safely say, experienced the answer to Paul’s prayer for the Christians in Rome, in Romans 15:13 – “May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing … with hope.” Also think of Paul and Silas when they were in prison after having been severely beaten (Acts 16:22-26); they were praying and singing hymns at midnight! They were filled with “the joy of His salvation” (Psa.51:12a), and the quality of their joy was so pure and powerful that sinners were converted to the Lord (Psa.51:13; Acts 16:29-34). Indeed, the jailer’s whole family was saved and baptized that night; and the Bible says that jailer “leaped much for joy and exulted with all his family that he believed in God” (v.34). He was like the calves released from their stalls in Malachi 4:2, who went forth leaping for joy!
” … in Him does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted in His Holy Name.” (Psalm 31:21)
When we choose to trust in the Character of God to do exactly as He has said He would do, we can be sure that joy will be the ultimate result of our confidence. The more we make this choice, believing that He will fulfill every one of His promises, the more we will find ourselves rejoicing. In fact, the Apostle Peter assures us that it will no common joy that we thus experience: “Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not how see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible [unspeakable] and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.” (I Peter 1:8)
It seems that with each successive trial we trust Him more and are strengthened by the joy that we are filled with by seeing Him faithfully bring us through, faithfully performing the promises that He gave to us regarding the trial, AND our joy grows!
“Your testimonies … are the rejoicing of my heart.” (Psalm 119:111)
Psalm 119 is full of proof of the reliability of the Word of God expressed by just one man. Also written about is the joy that comes from knowing, believing, meditating upon, and cleaving to His Word. This psalmist learned the testimonies of God, stepped out in faith in them, and believed that God would do just as He had promised He would, for “no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” (Luke 1:37)
His ultimate and unspeakable joy …!
The body of this writing deals with ways that we find ourselves filled with unspeakable joy that is sourced in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now to end, let’s consider HIS joy, and the immeasurable intensity of it when we are finally presented to Him as His beloved Bride! The Word of God says in Jude 24 that He is able to “present [us] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His Glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight] – “!! Can we even imagine this quality of JOY that is His as He finally has with Him in Heaven, for all eternity, the one whom He so loved that He gave up His life for her to be inseparably one with Him forever? Unspeakable …….