I love Easter and I love the springtime, don’t you? It is a time of Joy. I would like to share with you a few thoughts about joy today, and what it means to have “the joy of the Lord” in your life.
There is a verse a Scripture found in Hebrews 12:2. This verse gives great insight into the type of joy that transcends every experience known to man, and totally blows away every other definition of joy. In the preceding (12:1), the writer describes the Christian life as a race, and challenges his readers to run that race with endurance. Then he gives us the secret to successfully running the race. He says,
“ . . . Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (ESV)
Did you catch that reference to joy? “. . . who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross . . .”
What a thought! In the face of horrible suffering and shame, Jesus saw great joy! This blows me away! What exactly is the joy Jesus saw beyond the brutality and horror of death by crucifixion?
I believe Jesus saw joy in at least three things. He could see the joy of His Father’s Kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven. He could see the joy of reconciling the world back to God though His sacrifice on the cross. In addition, He could see the joy of presenting you and presenting me before His Father, blameless and without a single fault.
Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples earlier in John 15:11. He said, “These things have I spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Let’s ask ourselves two questions related to joy. Do you have His joy in you – the “joy of the Lord?” If you have His joy, how full is that joy? On a scale of 1 to 10, how full is your “joy tank?”
We should remember two biblical truths about joy. First, Jesus is the source of true and lasting joy. According to His prayer in John 17, He prayed that our joy might be full. He wants us to have joy, but He wants us to have the best and most complete joy possible (to the fullest). Second, it is possible to loose that joy! The reality is, there are things, circumstances and people who, if we are not careful, will steal our joy and keep us from experiencing the fullness of joy in Christ.
King David knew exactly what it meant to loose this joy. After his sin with Bathsheba, and after murdering her husband, Uriah, the prophet of God confronted him with his sin. David learned the only way to restore His joy was by confessing His sin and returning to God in repentance. After his prayer for forgiveness and cleansing, he cried out to God (Psalm 51:12), “Restore unto me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” (NLT)
If your answer to the question about the fullness of the joy in your life is not as positive as you would like it to be, or if your joy tank is not as full as it needs to be, then follow King David’s example. Repent and return to God. Let Him restore to you the joy of His salvation!
What about you? Do you have His joy? How full is your joy today?