When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. — Exodus 3:4-6
I was delivered from the burden that had so heavily suppressed me. The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew what it was to truly rejoice in God my Savior. –George Whitefield.
The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting. –C.S. Lewis
It is His joy that remains in us that makes our joy full. –A. B. Simpson
Joy is Strength. –– Mother Teresa
Joy is the serious business of Heaven. –C.S. Lewis
The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice. –A.W. Pink
Those who know where the treasure lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it. –D.A. Carson
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. — Augustine.
It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change. –-Hudson Taylor
The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. ‘If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,’ Jesus said, ‘he will find his true self.’ –Elizabeth Elliot
In the long run, there can be no joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all. –Frederick Buechner
When the heart is full of joy, it always allows its joy to escape. It is like the fountain in the marketplace; whenever it is full it runs away in streams, and so soon as it ceases to overflow, you may be quite sure that it has ceased to be full. The only full heart is the overflowing heart. –Charles Spurgeon
Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
If we are saved by grace alone, this salvation is a constant source of amazed delight. Nothing is mundane or matter-of-fact about our lives. It is a miracle we are Christians, and the Gospel, which creates bold humility, should give us a far deeper sense of humor and joy. We don’t take ourselves seriously, and we are full of hope for the world. –Tim Keller
We are to be re-made. All the rabbit in us is to disappear-and then, surprisingly, we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real Man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy. –C.S. Lewis
We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal. –J. I. Packer
A Disciples Joy
These references on a Disciple’s Joy are from Bible.org. The link is at the bottom of the page for the entire article on Luke 10:17-24, it is greatly recommended.–LW
Joy is always the outcome of true salvation. Note some of these biblical examples of joy.
ABRAHAM’S JOY WAS IN THE COMING OF CHRIST
“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56).
THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH EXPERIENCED JOY IN HIS SALVATION
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39).
THE PHILIPPIAN JAILER’S JOY
The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and the whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God (Acts 16:34).
JOY IS TO CHARACTERIZE THE LIFE OF THE TRUE BELIEVER
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. a prayer of David (Psalm 16:11).
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights (Psalm 36:8).
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).
Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God (Psalm 43:4).
GOD FINDS PLEASURE IN OUR SALVATION
As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you (Isa. 62:5).
But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more (Isa. 65:18-19).
I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul (Jer. 32:41).
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
ALL HEAVEN REJOICES IN MAN’S SALVATION
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7-10).
JOHN THE BAPTIST’S JOY WAS IN JESUS’ INTRODUCTION
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete (John 3:29).
THE DISCIPLES’ JOY WAS JESUS’ DESIRE AND PRAYER
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:20-24).
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them (John 17:13).
THE CHRISTIAN CAN EXPERIENCE JOY IN SUFFERING
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name (Acts 5:41).
Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope … Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:2, 11).
These any many, many other passages in Scriptures tells me that joy is one of the principle motivations, not only for the Christian, but even for God Himself. God saved men for His own pleasure. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). The saints are sustained in their present affliction, knowing the joy that lies ahead, not to mention the joy of knowing and serving God, and even of suffering for His name’s sake. The book of Philippians was written during one of the worst periods of the apostle Paul’s life and yet the keynote which prevails throughout the book is joy.
My study of joy in our text and in the Bible has led me to this conclusion: OUR PROBLEM IS NOT THAT WE SEEK HAPPINESS OR PLEASURE IN LIFE, IT IS IN SEEKING PLEASURE IN ANYTHING BUT GOD HIMSELF.
I know that I have been guilty of saying to others, “It is wrong to seek to be happy. What we should seek rather is to be godly.” But this is not really consistent with what our Lord says in our text. It is not that we are wrong in seeking joy and pleasure; we are wrong in seeking pleasure in anything but God.
This leads me to another observation: WE HAVE OFTEN ERRED IN SEEKING TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE BY THE NEGATIVE MOTIVATIONS GUILT OR FEAR, RATHER THAN OF JOY.
The pursuit of joy in God and God alone could virtually revolutionize our lives. Think of some of the implications of this:
WORSHIP IS OUR JOY IN GOD OVERFLOWING IN PRAISE TO GOD. If we were to enjoy God more our worship would overflow in praise and adoration. The Psalms overflow with both joy in the Lord and the praise of God.
EVANGELISM IS OUR JOY IN GOD OVERFLOWING IN PRAISING GOD TO MEN. We talk about the things we enjoy. If our joy were in the Lord, we would talk about Him often, not because it was our duty so much as because God is our delight.
SERVICE IS OUR JOY IN GOD OVERFLOWING IN MINISTRY TO OTHERS. I believe that burnout is probably the result of a lack of joy in our service, as much or more than anything else. Service that is motivated by guilt or fear will not be a ministry of joy, and we will quickly burn out. Joy is the fuel of faithful service. Joy in the growth and progress of others in their enjoyment of God was a part of the fuel of Paul’s service:
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thes. 2:19).
ENDURING PERSECUTION AND SUFFERING IS THE RESULT OF SETTING THE JOY OF GOD AND OF HIS PROMISES ABOVE THE PRESENT PLEASURES OF SIN. When we choose to disobey God, as did Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, it is because we have doubted God’s promises, and disdained His pleasures. Instead, we disobey, seeking those pleasures which are both fleeting and fatal. Finding pleasure in God is an antidote, a deterrent to finding pleasure in sin. We read of Moses, who
“… chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:25-26).
OUR STUDY OF, AND OUR OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD IS MOTIVATED BY THE JOY IT GIVES TO GOD AND TO US. David found his deepest joy in God, and thus he also found great delight in the Law of God—the Law, mind you. That which we turn up our noses. The Law of God was David’s great desire because he knew that the Law revealed what was pleasing to God and what was not. Because David found his pleasure in God, he found pleasure in studying God’s Word and in obeying it.
“I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoiced in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (Psalm 119:14-16).
LONG-TERM DEPRESSION IS THE WILLFUL CHOICE NOT TO FIND PLEASURE IN ANYTHING, NOT EVEN IN GOD. Long-term depression, that which we choose to live with, is a choice to live in a way that is a perversion of God’s purpose. It is choosing pain over pleasure misery over His majesty, pity rather than praise.
LEGALISM IS PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH NOT MAKING GOD MAD, WHILE GRACE IS LIVING IN A WAY THAT WILL BRING PLEASURE TO GOD. Legalism views God as angry, begrudging, and hostile. It lives in a way that will not “set God off.” Christian liberty views God as an intimate being, with whom we delight to commune, and who finds delight in our obedience. Christian liberty loves to please God. (I am inclined to think that the one thing which most irritated the scribes and Pharisees was the joy which Jesus found, especially in the salvation of sinners—cf. Luke 5:27-35.)
My journey with God has been accompanied by inner heart joy. It may recede at times because of an immediate challenge, weariness or the fog of my own perspective but the Lord’s Mercy rescues me just at the right moment and lifts me back into the arms of his Grace.
There- there is The Joy. We are secured in His Love, held in a joyful embrace; one that never let us go. One that was always there watchful and waiting for our return home. I need joy. I do ask for joy. I pray that we all walk with and for the purpose of True Joy.
James 1:2 ” “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” comes to mind when days become difficult. Scripture is reminding me to recall that God has a purpose for each trial that comes into our lives and that purpose is for good. As we put our trust, our faith in Jesus Christ, who is counted as the Joy- our lives draw us towards him and towards the purpose of knowing his Glory. Philippian’s 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
I saw a wonderful article that reminded us that the word “count” in the James 1:2 means consider. It suggested that we consider all of the blessings that we have been bestowed with now and learn to rejoice in the midst of difficulty. That is an artform! It means to alter perspective in the times that we are most likely to wish to turn away from God in hopelessness. Instead we turn towards him and give thanks. We worship, we praise. We give thanks for what we have been blessed with and lift our eyes and hearts up as we count our blessings before the altar of God. We see Jesus. Our perspective turns to the Joy of Jesus Christ.
This, in contrast to the word “fall” into trials. It is interesting that when it comes to trails- we fall. Paul, the speaker is telling us, his brothers and sisters to count- consider our blessings and alter our heart perspective. We are to lift our hearts to see differently.
We put our trust and faith in Jesus who is the count of Joy- counted as Joy itself. We draw towards him. We lift, rather than fall into trials. The sin and stains of falling from grace that cause pain and suffering are gathered by his Mercy and Love. And God works all for good and fulfills his purpose. (Philippian’s 2:13)
Here are some quotes on Christian Joy that I would like to share with you:
Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures. Thomas Aquinas
Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or day-dawn without light. Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting. C.S. Lewis
I choose joy… I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical… the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. Max Lucado
The mere fact itself that God’s will is irresistible and irreversible fills me with fear, but once I realize that God wills only that which is good, my heart is made to rejoice. A.W. Pink
Those who know where the treasure lies joyfully abandon everything else to secure it. D.A. Carson
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other. St. Augustine
The world looks for happiness through self-assertion. The Christian knows that joy is found in self-abandonment. ‘If a man will let himself be lost for My sake,’ Jesus said, ‘he will find his true self.’ Elizabeth Elliot
In the long run, there can be no joy for anybody until there is joy finally for us all. Frederick Bruckner
When the heart is full of joy, it always allows its joy to escape. It is like the fountain in the marketplace; whenever it is full it runs away in streams, and so soon as it ceases to overflow, you may be quite sure that it has ceased to be full. The only full heart is the overflowing heart. Charles Spurgeon
Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen. Mother Teresa