In Joy

It's my sister's middle name. It's in many of the songs we sing in church. Yet one week ago I was challenged to realise that it didn't feature as it ought to in my own life. To what am I referring?

Joy.

Now don't get me wrong. My family brings me much joy and none more so than to see them walking in the ways of the Lord. But as a Christian I feel that there's a deeper joy - a joy in spirit - that I sadly lack. Perhaps you would call it a supernatural joy.

Truth is, I'm not sure how to go about seeking or experiencing such joy. A quick glance through my Bible and it seemed that joy is a command. Not a reaction to something, but something that we do. In many ways, much like love.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You
(Psalm 5:11, NKJV).

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
(Psalm 27:6, NKJV).

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
(Psalm 32:11, NKJV).

A song that I used to sing as a teenager has come back to me in recent days and so I decided to see if it had any basis in Scripture. It did. In Nehemiah 8:10 I read “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The joy of the Lord is your strength.

The joy of the Lord is MY strength.

At present I'm doing my own personal Bible study on joy. Nothing too in-depth (well not at this stage - it could change in the future) but just as I'm reading through my Bible to record the passages that refer to joy. I've started a list and will keep adding to it as I discover more.

Then I will go to the altar of God,
To God my exceeding joy;
And on the harp I will praise You,
O God, my God.
(Psalm 43:4, NKJV).

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
(Psalm 51:12, NKJV).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness ...
(Galatians 5:22, NKJV).

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind (Philippians 2:1-2, NKJV).

An ouch-er of a verse:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials ...
(James 1:2, NKJV).

And a beautiful benediction:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Saviour,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen.
(Jude 1:24-25, NKJV).

Please share with me your thoughts and verses on joy.

Comments

Amy Black said…
Interesting post Julianne! The focus I have had for many years has been humility and after years of learning about humility (my fave chapter is Psalms 131) God asked me to humbly seek forgiveness of my mother-in-law (Oh my goodness... SCARY!) after a very strained and difficult relationship due to a number of painful things that happened at the beginning of our marriage. Anyway we are now starting afresh in our relationship and God has filled me with JOY after my whole married life (5 and a half years) being a constant battle with depression or low moods. Anyway I hope my situation brings encouragement to you. :)
Sharlene said…
I am wanting to do a blog post on joy sometime soon, so I appreciate your Scripture passages. I have wondered how joy could be strength, but I am finding out that it is a strength. Joy is not joy without the Lord, so there is real strenght
Jules said…
Amy and Sharlene, thank you for your thoughts. Amy I have been blessed with a wonderful godly mother-in-law and two incredibly wonderful daughters-in-law otherwise I could easily have been in the position you were in. I'm not the easiest person in the world to get on with! How brave of you to make that first approach and what a wonderful example of Christ in you. Thank you for sharing.

Sharlene, I look forward to reading your blog post.
Jen said…
I have struggled with that as well, especially in the middle of rough circumstances. It is hard to be joyful when going through a trial that seems to be never ending. But, I know that I need to have joy in spite of my circumstances. I think that can only come from the Lord, thus the verse "The joy OF THE LORD is my strength". With His help, we can have joy, and I am so thankful for that.

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