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?
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.
(Jude 1:24-25, NKJV).
Please share with me your thoughts and verses on joy.