“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4).
“There are some Christians who suppose it is sinful to rejoice…Some have been taught…that it is their duty to be gloomy…however, there is no precept in Scripture bidding us “Grieve in the Lord always, and again I say, grieve.” (Arthur Pink, The Scriptures and Joy).
My desire today is to encourage you with the truth from the Scriptures that God’s will for you is JOY, and then to show you the way to find joy in your life. The Bible says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22). Jesus Himself said, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).
Can you think of anything more exciting or joyful, than to know that your sins are forgiven, and your names are written in Heaven? What an encouraging truth! I don’t understand how a Christian can stay depressed all the time – or why they would want to. The Bible encourages, no –commands us – to rejoice in the Lord always. Not only that, it tells us that a joyful heart will bring us healing like a medicine. That tells me that joy is very important. When we have a broken spirit, it dries the bones – it saps our strength. So what’s the secret to finding real joy and strength in the Lord? Consider these Scriptures…
1. God comes to Dwell in the midst of His people who are praising Him:
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises ofIsrael.” (Psalm 22:3).
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” The way we come into God’s presence is with praise and thanksgiving. As you begin to worship God, God begins to manifest His presence to you. Which leads us to our next verse…
2. In God’s presence in fullness of joy:
“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope…You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:8-11).
When you begin to praise and worship God, and He begins to manifest His presence to you, there is a joy that comes – indeed, a fullness of joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. Our heart is glad, and it is a pleasure, to be in God’s presence. If you want more joy in your life, it’s not going to come from outward circumstances, because your circumstances are always changing. If you want to have a continual, abiding joy, it comes from being with Jesus.
3. The Joy of the Lord will give you strength:
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10).
When you worship God, we enter into His gates, and He manifests His presence to us. When that happens, we experience fullness of joy. And when we experience the joy of the Lord, that joy is what will give us strength for day-to-day living. Isaiah 30:41 says, “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” Today, maybe you’re not experiencing the joy of the Lord. It’s easy to get depressed when you focus on and think only about all the problems and troubles around you. But if you can get your eyes off of your problems and onto Jesus, it makes all the difference.
So begin to praise and worship God, even if you don’t feel like it, then CHOOSE JOY. “Sing praise to the Lord, You saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; Lord, be my helper.” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” (Psalm 30:4-5, 10-11).
Pastor Chris Jordan