The big deal: We need to see how much God cares. It is just who He is. We don’t need to look around. He is right here, right now.
Some questions for us to think about.
- Do we have it in our heart and soul that God is good and in a good mood?
- Do we know that God hears our prayers?
- Can we jump for joy?
- Can we shout?
- Can we sing our thanks to Jesus?
Blessed be God — he heard me praying. He proved he’s on my side;
I’ve thrown my lot in with him. Now I’m jumping for joy,
and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
Psalm 28:6-7 (The Message Bible)
Let’s consider what Jesus has to say in His Manifesto. God has good things in mind for me.
Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:9-11 (NASB)
What should my response to the goodness of God be? It seems that there are days I miss the ecstasy of knowing Jesus and His Heavenly Father. Where is the emotion of it all? Where is the stunning response to His glory?
I should consider:
- And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52 (NASB)
- At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. Luke 10:21 (NASB)
- And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:8 (NASB)
- Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy. Ezra 3:12 (NASB)
- So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 1 Kings 8:11 (NASB)
- And the sons of Israel, the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. Ezra 6:16 (NASB)
Digging Deeper – How do we get joy in our lives?
If you want to dig deeper, here are some additional resources. Joy is something we all long for but that often seems difficult to grab hold of. Experiencing joy should be a part of every Christian’s life. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, produced by God’s work in us, and it is part of God’s will for us.
χαρά chara, khar-ah´; from 5463; cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight:— gladness, × greatly, (× be exceeding) joy (-ful, -fully, fulness, -ous).
χαράa, ᾶς f: a state of joy and gladness—‘joy, gladness, great happiness.’ ἀπελθοῦσαι ταχὺ ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου μετὰ φόβου καὶ χαρᾶς μεγάλης ‘and quickly leaving the tomb, fearful and (at the same time) very joyful’ Mt 28:8. In a number of languages ‘joy’ is expressed idiomatically, for example, ‘my heart is dancing’ or ‘my heart shouts because I am happy.’
Wayne Grudem Systematic Theology
The Beauty and Joy of Sanctification
It would not be right to end our discussion without noting that sanctification brings great joy to us. The more we grow in likeness to Christ, the more we will personally experience the “joy” and “peace” that are part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and the more we will draw near to the kind of life that we will have in heaven.
Paul says that as we become more and more obedient to God, “the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Rom. 6:22). He realizes that this is the source of our true joy. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). As we grow in holiness we grow in conformity to the image of Christ, and more and more of the beauty of his character is seen in our own lives. This is the goal of perfect sanctification, which we hope and long for, and which will be ours when Christ returns. “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).
Joy. Positive human condition that can be either feeling or action. The Bible uses joy in both senses.
Joy as Action. There is a joy that Scripture commands. That joy is action that can be engaged in regardless of how the person feels. Proverbs 5:18 tells the reader to rejoice in the wife of his youth, without reference to what she may be like. Christ instructed his disciples to rejoice when they were persecuted, reviled, and slandered (Mt 5:11, 12). The apostle Paul commanded continuous rejoicing (Phil 4:4; 1 Thes 5:16). James said Christians are to reckon it all joy when they fall into various testings because such testings produce endurance (Jas 1:2). First Peter 4:13 seems to include both action and emotion when it says, “But rejoice [the action] in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad [the emotion] when his glory is revealed.” Joy in adverse circumstances is possible only as a fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is present in every Christian (Gal 5:22).
Holman Treasury of Key Words
The source of Israel’s joy was the Lord Himself along with His words and deeds performed on behalf of His people (Pss. 4:7; 16:11). The Lord gave joy to His chosen king through His presence (Ps. 21:6). Only the Lord could remove the sackcloth of mourning and clothe the king with simchah instead. “Joy” is one of the favorite words of the book of Psalms. The Lord, deserving of praise, was the psalmist’s joy (Ps. 43:4); and the person who was upright in heart enjoyed the simchah of the Lord (Ps. 97:12). The joy of the Lord was God’s goal for His people, and they were to find in Him the subject, the source, and the object of their joy. God’s people were never supposed to find their joy in anything that in any way opposed the Lord. In the New Testament, the theme of the joy of the Lord continues even more strongly. The one who finds the kingdom of heaven “joyfully” sells all that he or she owns in order to obtain it (Matt. 13:44). The joy of Jesus’ followers was a joy that superseded fear (Matt. 28:8). With Jesus in heaven, there will be no more suffering as prophesized by Isaiah when he talks of a restored of a people of God, entering into Zion with a crown of everlasting joy (Isa. 35:10; 55:12). The inexpressible joy of believers is possible because even in the absence of the Lord, we know that we nave received the salvation of our souls (1 Pet. 1:9).
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The element of joy in religion is still more prominent in the NT. It is the appropriate response of the believer to the “good tidings of great joy” which constitute the gospel (Lk 2:10). In the four Gospels, esp. Lk, this element is conspicuous. It is seen in the canticles of Lk 1 and 2. It is both exemplified in the life and character, and set forth in the teaching of Jesus. There are many intimations that, in spite of the profound elements of grief and tragedy in His life, His habitual demeanor was gladsome and joyous, certainly not gloomy or ascetic: such as, His description of Himself as bridegroom, in defence of His disciples for not fasting (Mk 2:18–20); the fact that He came “eating and drinking,” giving occasion to the charge that He was “a gluttonous man and a winebibber” (Mt 11:19); His “rejoicing in the Holy Spirit” (Lk 10:21); the fact that His presence was found to be congenial at social festivities (Mk 14:3: Lk 14:1; Jn 12:1), and at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2:1 ff); His mention of “my joy” (Jn 15:11; 17:13).
His teaching with reference to His followers harmonizes with this. The Christian virtues confer on those who attain them not only beatitude, a calm and composed state of felicity (Mt 5:3–11), but also a more exuberant state of joy, which is in sharp contrast to the “sad countenance of the hypocrites” (6:16) (“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, 5:12). This spirit is reflected in many of the parables. The discovery of the true treasure of life brings joy (Mt 13:44). The three parables in Lk 15 reveal the joy of the Divine heart itself at the repentance of sinners (see esp. vs 5–7, 9, 10, 22–24, 32). The parable of the Talents lays stress on the “joy of the Lord” which is the reward of faithfulness (Mt 25:21, 23). Jesus confers on His followers not only peace (Jn 14:27; 16:33), but participation in His own fulness of joy (Jn 15:11; 16:24; 17:13), a joy which is permanent, in contrast to the sorrow which is transient (16:22).
In the dark days of disappointment that succeeded the crucifixion, the joy of the disciples passed under a cloud, but at the resurrection (Lk 24:41) and still more on the day of Pentecost it emerged into light, and afterward remained a marked characteristic of the early church (Acts 2:46 f; 8:39; 13:52; 15:3). Paul speaks of joy as one of the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22) and of “joy in the Holy Spirit” as an essential mark of the kingdom of God (Rom 14:17). This joy is associated with faith (Phil 1:25), hope (Rom 5:2; 12:12), brotherly fellowship and sympathy (Rom 12:15; 2 Cor 7:13; Phil 2:1 f). To “rejoice in the Lord” is enjoined as a Christian duty (Phil 3:1; 4:4; cf 2:17 f; 1 Thess 5:16). In Christ, the Christian “rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet 1:8), in spite of his temporary afflictions (ver 6).
Christian joy is no mere gaiety that knows no gloom, but is the result of the triumph of faith over adverse and trying circumstances, which, instead of hindering, actually enhance it (Acts 5:41; Rom 5:3 f; Jas 1:2, 12; 5:11; 1 Pet 4:13; cf Mt 5:11, 12). Even Our Lord Himself “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame” (He 12:2).
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 16:11 NRSV
The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 33:10 KJV
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:17–18 KJV
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”
Luke 10:21 NIV
Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
John 16:24 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is … joy.
Galatians 5:22 ESV
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4 NRSV
Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.
We are all strings in the concert of his joy.
The joy that Jesus gives is the result of our disposition being at one with his own.
Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not.
When I think upon my God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap from my pen; and since God has given me a cheerful heart, it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit.
Franz Joseph Haydn
Life need not be easy to be joyful. Joy is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ.
William Van der Hoven
When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine.
- Stanley Jones
Joy is the serious business of heaven.
Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
Joy is never in our power, and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world.
Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis
Joy is peace dancing and peace is joy at rest.
Frederick Brotherton (F.B.) Meyer
Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the day; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows through persecution and opposition. It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about. The Lord gives his people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.
Dwight Lyman (D.L.) Moody
Savior, if of Zion’s city I, through grace, a member am, / Let the world deride or pity, I will glory in thy name: / Fading is the worldling’s pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show; / Solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion’s children know.
The surest mark of a Christian is not faith, or even love, but joy.
Samuel Moor Shoemaker
This is the secret of joy. We shall no longer strive for our own way; but commit ourselves, easily and simply, to God’s way, acquiesce in his will and in so doing find our peace.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice! / Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice! / O come to the Father through Jesus the Son: / And give Him the glory! Great things He hath done!
Frances Jane van Alstyne
 Strong, J. (1996). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 301). New York: United Bible Societies.
 Grudem, W. (2020). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Second Edition, p. 937). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic.
 Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Joy. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1225). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
 Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W. (2000). In Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (p. 98). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
 Edwards, D. M. (1915). Joy. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 1755). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.
 Manser, M. (Ed.). (2016). Christian Quotations. Martin Manser.