Saturday, 14 November 2009


Joy. It is one of the hallmarks of the Christian life. It is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a happy, rejoicing response to our circumstances. For the believer, joy is the facial and emotional declaration to the world that God is good and that my highest desires for satisfaction and fulfilment are met in Him. Joy in someone is obvious to everyone. The face of a mother-to-be betrays the delightful joy of the news they have just had confirmed by their doctor. The boyfriend in a longstanding and wholesome relationship with his sweetheart cannot conceal that his former girlfriend has just agreed to become his fiance. His attitude and perkiness tell all around him that he is happy and joyful. The face of the father of an honoured student at her conferring ceremony is only matched by how many photographs he takes of his "little girl" as she graduates with her degree in surgical medicine. The despairing business-person who has been deeply betrayed in more ways than anyone will ever truly know, has just met a Saviour who they have strangely and mysteriously discovered to be infinitely faithful, reliable, caring and considerate, and now their whole world seems clearer and brighter. They are happy.

Joy and gladness are the natural evidences of God's presence. When the prophet Joel describes God's abandoning of rebellious Israel, he declares that joy and gladness has been cut off from the House of the Lord (Joel 1:16). We are to live joyfully. We are to live gladly. In fact, God commands it. Dare I say it, God threatens severe things if His people will not be happy. But I am now plagiarising. I have borrowed a thought from Jeremy Taylor which was borrowed by John Piper, which he borrowed from CS Lewis who borrowed it from Taylor as he borrowed it from the Scottish preacher - George MacDonald (Jeremy Taylor, quoted in C. S. Lewis, "George MacDonald: An Anthology" (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946), 19). Here's how John Piper cites this amazing thought-
One is this: It is not John Piper who commands us to rejoice in the
Lord; God does. God elevates this experience of the heart to the level of
command, not I. And he does so with blood-earnestness. “Because you
did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart,
... you shall serve your enemies” (Deut. 28:47-48). “God threatens terrible
things if we will not be happy.” The fight for joy is not a warfare I appointed. God did.
"When I Don't Desire God", by John Piper, page 30,Crossway Publishers 2004

Joy is something, says Piper, that we must display. It shows our delight in God. It confirms our ultimate satisfaction being derived from knowing God. It declares to the world - "Hey! I've found it! I've found what we're all looking for!!!!"
Isaiah 52:7¶ How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”.

We need a church full of people full of joy!

Nehemiah 8:10Then he said to them, “...for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

But we don't always feel happy or full of joy. It's these times, argues Piper, that we must fight for our joy. He draws upon a document called the Westminster Shorter Catechism in which it says from the outset: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Piper says this opening statement can be amended to The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. To truly give God His right glory demands that we enjoy Him and display our happiness to the world.

Not feeling joyful? Perhaps you need to repent of whatever is robbing you of joy and pray for God to restore to you the joy of your salvation (Psalm 51). Perhaps you need to change your diet or sleep habits? Maybe you need to seek God and ask Him to remove every obstacle to your happiness in Him?

Having a happy attitude can make the world of difference to how you see life, God and your future. Your happiness matters! A lot!
Matthew 25:21 ¶ ...Enter into the joy of your master.

Happy people laugh. Happy people sing. Happy people are thankful people.

Be happy! Make the decision to turn from accepting gloom, to only being satisfied with God's joy.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

I pray that in the midst of our circumstances we can be full of joy and happiness. I pray that we as a church will be rejoicing, full of joy, delighting ourselves in God, and happy for knowing Christ and His people. Happy people are attractive people. Let's decide to be happy for God's glory!

When we walk with the Lord In the Light of his word What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, Not a cloud in the skies, But His smile quickly drives it away; Not a doubt or a fear, Not a sigh nor a tear, Can abide while we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief nor a loss, Not a frown or a cross, But is blessed if we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor he shows, And the Joy he bestows, Are for them who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at his feet, Or we'll walk by His side in the way; What He say's we will do, Where He sends we will go, Never fear only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.

("Trust & Obey", written by John H. Sammis and Daniel B. Towner)

No comments:

Post a Comment