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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Choose True Joy...Choose Jesus


“You will make known to me the path of life. In Your presence is fullness of joy. In Your right hand, there are pleasures forever.” -Psalm 16:11 (NASB)

Introduction

What is joy? What is happiness? Are these mutually exclusive? Over time, even Christians separated joy from happiness saying joy comes from God and happiness from circumstances. When we read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we note God did not intend we have one and not the other. He gives both joy and happiness. Only as people took their lives into their own hands and made themselves their own gods did these two get separated. Read the passage from Psalm 16:11 written above. It says God gives fullness of joy. This phrase means God gives so much joy, gladness, happiness, and mirth that one is fully satisfied and lacking nothing. God’s joy is abundant and overflowing. Let’s consider through this Bible study what the Bible defines as joy and happiness, look at the reactions from them: rejoicing and exulting, understand how we can have joy, and what we do with joy.

What are Joy and Happiness?

Joy is a noun and occurs in one of two ways. It comes as a gift from God to His children or because of something you or someone else did or provided for you. God’s gift of joy is an eternal joy. Nothing can take this gift from you. The second kind of joy, worldly joy, is fleeting. It comes and goes based on circumstances. It cannot affect you for eternity because it comes from people, not eternal God. In the Bible, three Hebrew and Greek words express the English word “joy”. These words are chara, sasown, and chedvah.

The word “happiness” in the Bible is associated with the joy God gives. In the Old Testament, it comes from the word samach, a verb, and ‘osher. a noun. Samach means to cause to rejoice, be glad, make glad, or exult. ‘Osher is a worldly happiness. The word “happiness” comes from the root word “happy”. We must understand these and associated words to understand fully the joy, gladness, and happiness God gives as compared to what the world gives. Let’s study these words in more depth.

Joy

Chara. When someone asks a Christian what joy is, most believers will say it is a spiritual fruit. Christians refer to Paul’s letter to the new believers in Galatia in Galatians 5:22-23. In this passage, for Paul, “joy” was chara. Chara is a noun and means joy or gladness. It comes from being aware of God’s grace and favor. This joy/gladness is because of God’s grace, not works. It grows in us as we continue walking and growing in a right relationship with God. Joy/gladness reflects a quality of life grounded in God. People can experience it even when in very difficult situations. The fullness of joy comes when a deep sense of God’s presence is in one’s life. Joy/gladness reflects through the person’s actions, words, and attitude. It comes from the Holy Spirit as a fruit/gift. Paul contrasted the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 with things people did to provide their own joy or gladness. The acts of the flesh noted in Galatians 5 are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, and carousing. Doing these things may bring pleasure/joy/gladness for a moment, but they each leave residual feelings that are not joy or gladness. The gladness (happiness) and joy these actions create are fleeting and often are against the law. Instead of these deeds, Paul said the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts given by God to Christians, do not pass away but grow and mature as a believer grows in his or her relationship with God. They never end because God never ends. Joy from God is continual and eternal, just like love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The difference between the gladness (happiness) and joy of God and the gladness (happiness) and joy of the world is its effect on the person. God’s joy, chara, produces continual rejoicing and exulting in God while sharing with others about life with Him. The joy and gladness of the world fades and can bring guilt and remorse depending on how people acquire it.

Paul was not the only believer in the Bible to write about this difference. The writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 11:23-26 spoke of two kinds of joy. He spoke of a joy that comes from the passing pleasures of sin. Note, this earthly joy and gladness/happiness is fleeting. Moses chose the joy and gladness God gives. He preferred to endure ill-treatment along with God’s people than the pleasures of sin with the Egyptians because he looked for the reward from God. He had hope in Yahweh, the God who created, called, provided for, and protected Him and the people of Israel.

Solomon, too, thought he would seek the happiness the world desired. He found the pleasures of the world to be futility and meaningless (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2). Solomon found pleasure accomplished nothing. The joy of the Lord is abundant and never ending, but the joy of the world is hollow. The joy of the world has no basis and evaporates.

Sasown. We must note in the Bible God considers joy, gladness, and happiness as a sum together. They are the same, not considered different from each other. This thought was not new to the new covenant, but Old Testament writers understood and wrote about it, too. The Hebrew word, sasown, means gladness, joy, exultation, and rejoicing. People use these English words interchangeably in the Bible and realize they add explanation and depth to each of the other words. Consider Zechariah 8:19. He said, “The fasts will become joy, gladness, and cheerful feasts for the house of Judah.” Joy, gladness, and rejoicing go hand in hand. In Esther 8:16-17, joy and gladness again describe the lives of the Jews at that point in time. Notice, too, even in the Old Testament, true joy, sasown, comes from God to His children. His children, the Israelites, were the ones with whom He covenanted. When they remained faithful to Him, He blessed them and they received joy, gladness, happiness, and then rejoiced. Consider this in these passages – Jeremiah 16:9, 25:10, 31:13, 33:9 & 11; Isaiah 12:3, 35:10, 51:3 & 11, 61:3; and Psalm 45:7, 105:43, and 119:11. Notice Isaiah 51:3-11 states God is the giver of lasting joy. Isaiah 22:13 says gladness fades when it is manmade. Manmade gladness is a false gladness. Even in the Old Testament, the people of the LORD understood that true and lasting joy, gladness, and happiness come from God. They did not differentiate between joy, gladness, and happiness in those times; they were the same.

Chedvah. One other Hebrew word tells us about joy in the Old Testament and adds depth and meaning to its definition to go with sasown. That word is chedvah. Old Testament writers used chedvah only twice, but these provide an understanding that continues into the New Testament. It, too, means joy and gladness. In 1 Chronicles 16:27, the chronicler recorded his understanding that joy is God’s and comes from Him. True joy-eternal and heavenly joy-are from God.

Nehemiah 8:10 explains this to us, too, and furthers our understanding about joy and gladness. Nehemiah told the returned exiles, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” Joy comes from the LORD, he said. Besides this, Nehemiah told them and tells us, another kind of joy exists in the world, one not of the LORD. Since it is of the world, it is fleeting. Whereas the LORD brings food, drink, and fulfilled promises, which caused continued, abounding, fully satisfying joy, the joy that comes from the world, Nehemiah said, would dissipate when the person consumed or removed them.

There are two kinds of joy, gladness, and happiness – that from God and that found in the world. Both Old and New Testaments record this understanding and many instances of it. When looking in a dictionary, we read joy is extreme happiness. That is the world’s definition. Because the world considers happiness different from joy, we must look at what the Bible says about the words “happy” and “happiness”. Still, with our current understanding of what the Bible considers joy, we must affirm true joy, gladness, and happiness are the same. It comes from the receipt of grace/favor from God, not from a person’s actions as the world sees it. Joy is not more powerful than happiness. What determines the power of joy, gladness, and happiness is from whom the grace/favor comes-God or another person.


Happy and Happiness

Are joy and happiness truly the same thing in the Bible? Based on the above study of the Old and New Testament words for “joy” and their meanings, happy, glad, and joyous are joint descriptors of a person who receives God’s grace. That person received joy because of God’s grace. Because of God’s grace and the joy it brings, the person is happy or glad. Happiness then is blessedness when you find your purpose and fulfillment in God-in a relationship with Him and in His provisions. Let’s look at some passages about happiness to consider this more.

Makarios. Jesus taught the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 to his followers during His sermon on the mount. In that passage, Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” He continued like this for nine verses. The Greek word from which “blessed” comes is makarios. Makarios means happy, blessed, or fortunate. It is an adjective that describes a person upon whom God sends His grace/favor/blessing. Does the world consider people who are mild in spirit, who mourn, who are gentle, who seek righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, who are peacemakers, and who are persecuted as blessed or happy? Being like those people is contrary to the world’s idea of happiness, but Jesus said these kinds of people are happy and fortunate in God. He held them up as role models. In this understanding through Jesus’ teaching, “happy” is primarily associated with one’s disposition and character rather than one’s emotive response to occurrences and events. No matter what happens, the truly happy person, the believer, will consider him or herself blessed to be a child of God. The believer won’t let the weight of problems take away his or her joy/happiness. The world defines happiness differently than does God. For the world, when good and pleasurable things happen to you or come to you, then you are happy, not when bad things happen, or people overlook or revile you. The world bases happiness on one’s circumstances. Jesus said happiness is not based on circumstances. He based happiness and joy on one’s relationship with the Father. Jesus calls a “happy” person one who is in a relationship with the Father. That believer is growing to become more Christlike and have a disposition and character like Him. A person who centers his or her life in a relationship with God shows a disposition of a righteous life. A relationship with God and resultant righteous disposition allows the person to enjoy happiness no matter what occurs, good or bad. True happiness, joy, and gladness are rooted in the activity of God and His character. God’s character is the lens through which a truly joyful and happy person views his or her world. That person is blessed to be a child of God and nothing can take that away from him or her. God is the blessing and the Christian has true joy and happiness because of the grace and favor of knowing the Lord in that way.

‘Esher. The Bible uses another word that translates as happy. The Old Testament writers used the word ‘esher (noun) to speak about a blessed or happy person. Again, this speaks about the receipt of God’s favor as His child. To be His child is to be in a covenant relationship with Him and receive protection, provision, and promise from Him. In Job, the Hebrew word ‘esher translates as happy are the people who are in a right relationship with Yahweh. In Job 5:17, Job told his friends even when God reproves/corrects a person, that person can be happy because the Lord only corrects the person He loves. That person whom God corrected could be happy knowing God loved him or her enough to reprove him or her. He works to direct each of His children on the right path like a loving parent disciplines his or her child. Even when negative things happen, the Bible says Christians can still have joy and happiness because God loves us and we have hope through Him.

In another biblical instance, in 1 Kings 10:8, Queen Sheba considered the men who heard King Solomon’s wisdom as ‘esher-blessed and happy. Again, “happy” describes a person’s disposition and character rather than his or her emotive response to happenings. Moses, in Deuteronomy 33:28-29, called Israel happy (blessed-‘esher) because God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. David said in Psalms 32:1-2 a righteous person is a happy person because of his or her knowledge that God has forgiven individual sins. At the beginning of his psalms in Psalm 1:1-3, David relayed this happiness and blessedness (‘esher) when he wrote about the wicked and the righteous. He said,
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD and in His Law, he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields it fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither, and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (NASB)
David called a person blessed and happy when he walks in God’s ways. Walking in God’s ways makes a person firmly planted and watered so fruit grows. That person does not wither and all he does prospers. Because God is righteous, only good comes from Him. He continues to provide growth and fruit for the person who lives in relationship with Him. Happiness and joy come from being in a growing relationship with the Lord. Dryness and lack of fruit come from walking in the ways of the world seeking immediate pleasure that does not satisfy and comes to an end.

Samach. Surely happiness is a state of being, you may say. Let’s look at the times in the Bible it speaks of happiness. Writers of the Old Testament used two words to convey what we know as happiness, samach and osher.

Samach is a verb used 148 times in the Old Testament, 78 of which are in Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Proverbs. It means to cause to rejoice, be glad, exult, and make glad. The following passages show the samach God gives. Deuteronomy 24:5 recorded God’s rule for a newly married man to stay with his wife for a year before returning to the army so he could give her happiness. A good start in a married life was God’s gift to the newlyweds. In other places in Deuteronomy, people experienced happiness and rejoiced when they ate before the LORD the things with which He blessed them (Deuteronomy 12:7, 12, & 18, Deut. 14:26, etc.). In Psalm 5:11, samach means to be glad and joyful. Again, God paired happiness, gladness, and joy. Psalm 14:7 and 16:9 join rejoicing and being glad with happiness (samach). One interesting chapter recorded David recognizing his true joy and hope came from God even though his enemies rejoiced over his stumbling (Psalm 35). David had happiness even though his enemies rejoiced over his misstep, not because he did something right, but because of Whose he was. He was the chosen king and child of God. David recognized the enemies’ joy was fleeting because God was the source of his own joy. His enemies’ joy came from their luck. Further, in Psalm 58:10, David equated happiness with rejoicing when God brings vengeance on his enemies. Bible writers joined happiness, gladness, and joy. They did not separate them like people have done over the last six or seven centuries in other languages.

‘Osher. In Genesis 30:13, Leah called herself happy because her maid Zilpah bore a second son for Jacob. She had a running race with her sister, Rebecca, to give Jacob more sons. Leah would do anything she could to win that race even if it meant going about it in a way God did not want-Jacob sleeping with more women. ‘Osher means happy in Old Testament Hebrew. Leah named her son Asher, a form of the word ‘osher, saying he brought her happiness. This verse is the only instance of ‘osher being used in the Bible. This form of happiness, we can conjecture from the biblical context, is the worldly form of happiness. The worldly form of happiness is getting one’s own happiness at the expense of others, not waiting for God to give the blessing or favor. In doing what Leah did to give another son to Jacob, she used Zilpah and caused pain to Zilpah and Rebecca.


Culture and “Happy”

The words “happy” and “happiness” change based on culture and time. What God intended to come from perfect contentment and relationship with Him changed with the whims of humanity. To arrive at an easier form of joy and happiness, people constructed a lower, non-true form of joy and happiness. The etymology of the word “happy” takes us back to its Norwegian roots. It came from the word “hap,” which meant lucky. From then people connected luck to a person’s contentment and happiness, not to God’s grace and favor. From that point, each person could then make his or her own luck and find his or her own joy and happiness. The only problem with this is the joy and happiness found that way is never enough and never lasts long. It creates a desire for more with the need to do whatever it takes to be happy. Sometimes doing whatever it takes involves hurting people physically, mentally, financially, or emotionally. One person’s luck then becomes another person’s pain (bad luck). When God gives joy, gladness, and happiness, He does not take away from another person. Instead, He gives from His bottomless, eternal storehouse, from His character. When we understand how joy and happiness have changed from its original intent in the Bible, we can understand how people now connect happiness with circumstances and joy with God instead of realizing both come from God and then seeking to be in a growing relationship with Him. Understanding joy and happiness leads us to a question.  How do we express what we experience when we receive God’s unmerited grace/favor? What words do Bible writers use along with joy, gladness, and happiness that tell how we express them?


The Outcome of True Joy

What reactions naturally come from a person who experiences joy, gladness, and happiness from the Lord? The Bible says these people rejoice and exult. Isaiah 35:10 said God’s people will be happy forever. Gladness and joy will overtake them and sorrowing and sighing will flee.

Rejoicing. In Romans 12:12, Paul urged believers to rejoice in hope. The word “rejoice” comes from the Greek word chairo and means to be exceedingly glad, to rejoice, to be well. It’s a feeling that comes from deep within a person’s being. A joy that bubbles up into action, like a fountain bubbling up and overflowing onto anyone and anything around it.

Exulting. In Romans 5:2-11, Paul added believers can exult in hope of the glory of God, exult in our tribulations, and exult in God. The word “exult” comes from the Greek word kauchaomai and means to glory with or without reason in a person or thing, to take pride in or boast. “Exulting” means to take great joy by acting it out in word and action whether for a specific reason or not. Both rejoicing and exulting are actions that come from the bubbling forth of joy and happiness within a child of God. Happiness is not the emotional outcome of joy, rejoicing and exulting are.


Final Thoughts on the Word Study

From these Bible passages, we can understand God’s true purpose for joy and happiness. Joy and happiness are gifts from God given to people. They are blessings from God to His people, those whom He made righteous. The joy and happiness of the Lord does not dry up, fade away, or cause harm to another person. It can come for no reason and, can also occur because of what God has done in and for a person. True joy and happiness spring up from the heart of a person and bubble continually because its source-God-is unending. It reveals itself to other people through rejoicing and exulting in word and action giving glory to the Giver of the joy and happiness, God.

Understanding the words from the Old and New Testaments show us joy, happiness, and gladness originally came from God and continue if one seeks Him and His ways. These come from God because of a person’s growing relationship with Him. They come as gifts of the Spirit just as Paul spoke of in Galatians 5. God’s love for His children ushers forth in favor and blessing as relationship, provision, protection, and reproof. From the creation of the world God provided: man for woman and woman for man, and food, protection, and relationship with Him. Throughout the rest of humankind’s history, God continued to provide as we read in the Bible. His ultimate blessing to humankind is His greatest testament of love to people: forgiveness and new life through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, as the death payment for the sins of humanity. This gift brings one of the greatest joys and sources of happiness, and provides hope. This hope gives believers His joy, which helps them persevere during trials.

God blessed humanity and created joy and happiness for each person. When sin entered the world because people wanted to direct their own lives and be their own gods, they corrupted joy and happiness. People seek joy and happiness through temporary means and often at the expense of others. The joy and happiness people receive through their own striving results in a temporary good feeling or emotion. The resultant emotions and/or responses that come from the joy and happiness people experience show from whom joy, happiness, and gladness came: God or ourselves.
The happiness the world espouses is fleeting and often damaging. It’s often contrary to the Lord’s laws and comes at the expense of other people. Paul said in Galatians 5 fleeting joy and happiness often comes from immorality, lawlessness, impurity, sensuality, and anger. It may temporarily bring happiness, but then fades leaving guilt, remorse, and a desire for more without considering the cost. It can be like an addiction. A question arises from this. Will we seek joy and happiness in circumstances or in God? Will we allow circumstances to define God or His character? The challenge is to allow God's character to be the lens for interpreting circumstances so we can know right from wrong and seek God exclusively.

How Do We Get Joy?

As we consider joy and happiness, questions arise. How do we get joy? From where does it come? Is it fleeting or not and why? The answers to these questions came in the word study above and come as you read other Bible verses about joy, happiness, and gladness. Joy comes as a gift from God; it’s a fruit/gift of the Spirit. He gave joy with His blessings at creation to Adam and Eve. God gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet. He gave them dominion over creation. These were blessings to bring joy and happiness. God promised to bless Abraham, make his name great, and through him to bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3).

Blessing, joy, and happiness are not just New Testament ideas from the advent of the Messiah. Joy and happiness come from God, were originally a result of blessing from Him. If you’ve read through the book of Deuteronomy, you will remember chapter twenty-eight. In that chapter, Moses recorded the blessings from God to the Israelites if they remained faithful to Him. You realize from your reading of Deuteronomy what God gives is not necessarily the blessing, per se. God is the blessing!

Joy comes from knowing and trusting God!

Yes, joy and happiness come from what God gives and does for a person. More importantly, being in a growing love relationship with God is the true blessing that causes joy and happiness within a person. Because God is the source of joy and happiness and because He is Alpha and Omega-beginning and end, I AM-He and the joy that comes from being in relationship with Him never ends.

Joy from God is not fleeting!

You may still ask: But how do we get joy? I don’t feel joyful. I see other people laughing and singing. How can I have joy when I am covered by dark clouds? These are valid questions and believers of the Bible experienced what you experience. Their lives were like yours. Some days the sun seemed to shine for 20 hours, their eyes lit up like the sun, their fields grew without worm or drought, and their lives flowed gently and exuberantly onward. Other days they saw locusts, experienced the death of children, lost possession of their homes, and had to beg from door to door losing their self-respect. Did they have joy even during those hard times? Can we have joy during those hard times.

Remember what Paul said in Galatians 5:22-23. Love, joy, peace, patience and all those other things are fruits of the Spirit. Paul spoke to pagan-background believers in Galatia in this letter. They had no personal history with Yahweh. The Galatians did not know the stories of I AM calling Abraham and Moses, and creating the world. The Galatians knew about empires like Assyria, Persia, and Rome. They lived under the laws and regimes of their Kings and Caesars. The people of Galatia understood good and evil. The Galatian Christians probably experienced the hardness of life at the hands of people who sought their own joy by making themselves more important than them. These pagan-background believers of Galatia knew about immorality, impurity, sensuality and all the other things Paul listed for them. Before they became believers, they did not know about the alternative the Savior would give to them when they believed in Jesus for salvation. Paul contrasted their old ways of living with the possibilities of the new way. The possibilities of goodness came through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who grew the fruits of righteousness in them, fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, et. al. The Galatians could have joy without hurting other people, a joy that was everlasting. They could have the joy God gives through the Spirit because they believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior. No matter what came against them from selfish people, they could have joy. Joy isn’t dependent upon circumstances, but upon the One faithful and eternal God. We have joy because God gives it through His Spirit to all believers. No matter what the days or weeks threw at the Galatians, they could choose joy, choose to act and react based on God’s character, what He did for them, and who He was to them. We can also choose joy and choose to act and react based on who God is and what He’s done for us.

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit

When Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 5:1-11, he could have lamented with them about the trials the new believers experienced. Paul could have told the Roman believers they should have expected retribution from their friends and families when they turned their backs on their pantheon of gods, but he didn’t. He stood with them and taught them from his own background. Paul knew what ostracism and hate felt like from the time he believed in Jesus and turned his back on being a Pharisee, a man who judged and condemned Jesus-followers. He explained in these few verses they could have joy in their tribulations because tribulations bring perseverance, proven character, and hope. That hope, Paul said, would not disappoint them because God poured His love into their hearts through the Holy Spirit given to all who believe in Jesus Christ.

Joy grows through trials because Jesus gives hope.

Jesus explained this to His disciples when He foretold his death and resurrection in John 16. He explained to them in verses sixteen through twenty-four He would die and be resurrected, and they would not see Him. The disciples would weep and lament, and the world would rejoice at His death. Jesus then said, their grief would turn into joy. He told them in that day to ask for anything in His name then they would receive and their joy would be full-would be abounding. The disciples could rejoice knowing whatever they asked in Jesus’ name God would give them. They would abound and overflow with joy. Ask with full faith in Jesus; your joy will abound.

Joy comes from believing and asking in Jesus’ name.

Asking in Jesus name is more than a mantra. Yes, from it you will have joy, but it comes because of your faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died so your sins will be forgiven and you can be in God’s presence forever. In 1 Peter 1:8-9, Peter told the believers in Asia minor about the “inexpressible joy” they had because even though they had not seen Jesus, they loved him and believed in Him for salvation.

Joy comes by faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

The writer of Hebrews stated in Hebrews 12:2 Jesus endured the cross knowing the joy that would come from it. He didn’t die a painful crucifixion because He wanted to feel the weight of his body hang upon three nails. Jesus didn’t die so He could know what it felt like to drown from fluid in his lungs. He died knowing the joy each of us would receive when He cleansed us from our sins. Jesus knew the great joy He would give us by cleansing us. He counted His crucifixion a worthy price to pay for our salvation and joy. Jesus called this excruciating death a joy because of what it would do for people who believed in Him and because of His love for all people. Would you pay that price for someone to experience this same joy?

Joy comes from Jesus cleansing and forgiving you.

As we walk with the Lord daily and grow in our faith, Jesus’ words to the seventy sent-out ones call each of us back to humility and the basis of our faith. Jesus told them in Luke 10:19-20,
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” (NASB)

We each will get to a time in our lives after we’ve been Christians for a few years that it seems as if God is with us and we are empowered to conquer all that comes our way. At that time, remember again your power and strength to overcome, as well as boldness and courage, come from the Lord. Most importantly, don’t rejoice in what you are doing and seeing, but rejoice that God recorded your name as His child in His book in heaven. Stay grounded (humble) and recall Who did in your life everything you have experienced and seen. It wasn’t you; it was God.

Joy comes from remembering you are God’s child.
Nothing can separate you from Him.

David had a remarkable relationship with Yahweh. He learned to be a shepherd and leader of His people. David learned to protect and provide for them because of the LORD’s teaching. He gave us examples of blessing the LORD in dark days, standing firm in troubling times, and remembering his inheritance and hope while in the valleys. More than anything, David’s life and writings teach us being in God’s presence gives fullness of joy. Being in God’s presence completely satisfied him. Hear his heart in Psalm 16:11.

“You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is the fullness of joy. In Your right hand, there are pleasures forever.” (NASB)
Joy is full, abounding, and complete in God’s presence.


What do We do with Joy?

Ø  We worship the Lord. We dance like David danced.
Ø  We stand strong in trials, endure, and keep hope.
Ø  We testify to people around us as we praise God for saving us, walking with us, making a way for us, cleansing and forgiving us, giving us hope, and blessing us with His gifts.
Ø  We praise with great rejoicing and exultation.
Ø  We be still and know He is God; He is the blessing.
Ø  We sing with David and all creation–
1 Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
2 Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
3 Praise Him with trumpet and sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.
4 Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
5 Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!                                           [Psalm 150 (NASB)]
Experiencing God’s joy and happiness
creates the over-abounding desire to rejoice!

Application Questions

·         Where are you on your joy journey? Have you met and accepted Jesus as your Savior and are overflowing with His joy?
·         Are you facing trials and enduring because of the hope set before you?
·         Are you remembering God’s joy is not fleeting and, thus, are not chasing after the joys of the world?
·         Are you believing and asking in Jesus’ name for joy?
·         Are you remembering to be humble because it’s not about you, but about God?
·         Are you remembering to know and trust God?
·         Are you remembering you are God’s child and nothing can separate you from Him?
·         Are you standing in the Lord’s presence full, abounding, and overflowing with the joy of the Lord?

Don’t settle for the joy and happiness the world gives.

Choose true joy. Choose Jesus.

Receive God’s forgiveness and salvation and Burst forth with His fruit of joy.
Live with unending, overflowing, eternal joy.
Bound forth with rejoicing. Don’t let the world’s definitions and limitations restrict you.

“Proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9b (NASB)]

Are you allowing God’s joy to bubble forth and overflow in and from your life?
Go ahead, be a fount overflowing.
Let joy for the Lord be your hallmark.