Joy is experienced naturally in many circumstances of my life in Jesus and most importantly in relationships I have with His followers. It is especially important in the life of God’s people, who experience joy in response to all that God has done for us.
My joy should be a manifestation of God’s gift of joy to me. Jesus exhibited joy in His ministry on a constant basis. For the joy that was before Him, He suffered a cruel death taking my sins on Him, was raised from the dead in an incorruptible body and ascended back to heaven to take his rightful place of authority.
Jesus received great joy in His relationships. He gives us great joy in our relationships as well. Jesus is smiling!
Joy arising from relationships
Just seeing our brothers and sisters who follow Jesus like us should give me great joy. When I am away from them, I should miss them and long to see them.
Philippians 4:1 (NASB) — Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
I should rejoice or grieve with others, depending on their circumstances. This is not sympathy but real empathy, the Jesus way.
- Romans 12:15 (NASB) — Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
- 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NASB) — And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
I must give to the poor in a joyful way. It should give me tremendous pleasure to do so.
Romans 15:26–27 (NASB) — For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.
My prayers should bring joy to me. I must be confident the Jesus is doing amazing things in other believers lives.
Philippians 1:4–6 (NASB) — Always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the good news from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of the Messiah Jesus.
The love of others for me should be bring me joy. As a believer in the Messiah Jesus, I know the true love of others. It is stunning to me that I am loved so deeply by others.
Philemon 7 (NASB) — For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.
It is easy to forget about joy. It is essential in the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes (aka The Jesus Manifesto) tradionally use the word “blessed”. Most translators agree the better translation is “Happy” or “More than Happy”. For the joy that was set before Jesus, he endured the crucifixion. The joy of the Lord is my strength.
In Acts we learn that “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52 (NASB) Note that it was not a sometime kind of thing. It was continual. They were always joyful and happy. It is just who they were, like Jesus. This is where I get to say one of my favorite things. God is in a good mood!
We are a people of hope and joy! “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NASB)